The # 1 thing most active people neglect fitness-wise is taking care of their muscles through stretching and myofascial release (otherwise known as foam rolling.)
If you've ever taken a group fitness class you've probably seen people leave during the cool down at the end of class. Maybe you were one of these people... I get it we're all busy. We've got to get to work, or call our Mom, or grab a green smoothie... but trust me, when I say your time is worth the little effort it takes.
Back in the day when I used to teach bootcamp-style classes... I'd never hold anyone HOSTAGE, but I would inevitably give a 60 second Ted Talk emphasizing the importance of taking care of the muscles we just worked. And usually my little speech worked like magic because those who'd normally rush out the door ended up staying.
But I also encourage all my clients to make time for foam rolling. Stretching alone doesn't get the myofascial layer - the connective tissue that is protecting all of your muscles. This tissue needs attention to help prevent injury, and keep your muscles functioning at their best.
And you can do it while watching Netflix on your living room floor. It's an amazing way to wind down at night.
Once you are introduced to rolling consistently most people are hooked on the feeling.
Benefits of Foam Rolling
+ Helps You Recover Significantly Faster.
Myofascial release has the word "release" in it for a good reason. It targets muscle tightness, and helps minimize muscle imbalances which aids in recovery. You can use it to relieve existing soreness, and when you're proactive with foam rolling after a workout you are helping to prevent sore/tight muscles.
+ Can improve the quality of your workouts.
When muscles are not restricted by tightness the body has improved mobility. Therefore muscles can fire at peak efficiency during workouts.
+ Removes lactic acid.
Rolling brings more oxygen to your muscles which reduces lactic acid. Lactic acid is produced in your muscles during exercise (especially intense exercise like running , biking, or HIIT workouts.)
Too much lactic acid can cause fatigue and soreness. Or more severe symptoms such as nausea, cramps, shortness of breath, or yellowing of the skin and eyes in extreme cases.
+ Promote relaxation and stress relief post workout.
Getting on your roller after a workout feels SO GOOD. It's like the cherry on top after your hard work. I tell my clients this is the time they can check their phone, scroll instagram, read an article - whatever - as long as they are taking a few minutes to foam roll.
+ Saves you $ on massages.
Foam rolling is like a mini deep tissue massage. With practice and slow controlled movement you're able to get deep into the muscles, and provide serious relief.
How and When to Foam Roll , and Mistakes to Avoid
You can foam roll pre workout if you prefer. It's a better alternative to static stretching which we now know doesn't do much good before a workout and can actually lead to injury.
I personally love foam rolling at the end of a workout, or if I'm short on time later that night while watching TV. It's become part of my evening routine most nights.
So what areas should you avoid foam rolling? Foam rolling your lower back is not advised unless working with a professional.
The best areas to foam roll include quads, calfs, glutes, upper back, and lats.