A foam roller is a tubular device made of, you guessed it, foam that is used for purposes of exercise, massage or physical rehabilitation.
Foam rollers are affordable, durable and compact and come in a variety of shapes designed to produce different effects.
Our health and wellness experts have concluded that the following are the primary benefits of using a foam roller.
8 Benefits Of The Foam Roller
The foam roller is a simple way to enjoy the following benefits.
1: A foam roller is safe, effective, and affordable.
Maintaining good health can be an expensive proposition these days, especially if you go the health club route. But even if you can afford to join a gym, it’s debatable you’ll actually get your money’s worth. Especially if you’re over 50, since most health club activities are geared toward a much younger set. Foam rollers represent an affordable way to retain flexibility. That, in turn, can make your workouts much more effective and help you avoid injuries in your everyday life. Runners, weightlifters, and CrossFit fanatics will also find foam rollers to be enormously useful in speeding recovery. Younger women too should consider using foam rollers to relieve stress and strain caused by their changing physiology (1).
2: A foam roller can reduce muscle tightness.
This is the primary reason people use foam rollers. Workouts can be tough on the body. More so if you are over 50. Muscles pushed to new heights are not going to take it lying down. They’re going to let you know they’re not very happy. They’ll tighten up and make you a stiff, achy mess the day after your workout. Smart use of a foam roller will get the blood moving through your muscles, facilitating the healing process, restoring flexibility, and alleviating pain and soreness.
3: A foam roller will help you achieve better posture.
As we get older, gravity tends to have its way with most of us. As a result, it’s not uncommon for folks to start developing problems with their posture after they pass 50. And bad posture isn’t going to lead to anything good in the long run (2). Trying to fight back against the constant tug of gravity can sometimes feel like trying to hold back the tide. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. Your foam roller can be your #1 ally in the fight against bad posture. Simply place the roller beneath the small of your back and then lean back as far as you can go, supporting your head with your hands. Hold this pose for at least a minute. Repeat a couple of times every day.
4: A foam roller can increase circulation.
The fascia is a layer of tissue that encases your muscles. If you’ve been mostly sedentary for some time, the fascia can stiffen up as a result of reduced blood circulation. When the fascia tightens up, we often experience it as a knot in the muscle or the sense that we’ve pulled the muscle (3). When you work tight muscles with the foam roller, you’re also working the surrounding fascia. That has the effect of opening the veins in the fascia and promoting blood flow. This increased circulation causes the stiffness to subside. When combined with the loosening of the muscle tissue itself, you’re then able to move without pain or restriction.
5: A foam roller can help you recover from workouts or injury.
Anyone who has ever engaged in a vigorous workout has experienced soreness in the aftermath. It’s only natural. This soreness is the result of microscopic tears that occur in the muscle tissue when it’s pushed beyond its comfort zone. These tears then produce inflammation, which is what we experience as soreness. Studies have shown that 20 minutes of foam rolling 24 and 48 hours after exercising can substantially reduce the amount of pain a person feels (4). This has the added benefit of shortening recovery time and setting you up nicely for the next workout.
6: A foam roller can improve your range of motion.
The looser your muscles are, the greater your range of motion. It’s not rocket science. Any time your muscles are tight and sore, you simply won’t be able to execute the same type of moves you would be able to perform under normal circumstances. By increasing circulation and releasing knots and areas of tension, your limbs return to their usual limber selves. If you’re unconvinced of the benefits, don’t use the roller after one of your workouts. The difference you’ll feel both immediately and the next day will likely be dramatic.
7: A foam roller reduces the chance of injury.
Tight, sore muscles restrict range of motion as we’ve just seen. But that’s not their only negative effect. They can also lay the groundwork for injuries. That’s because tight, tense muscles restrict flexibility in the joints (5). As a result, the muscles have to work harder to compensate for this loss of flexibility. That can lead to knots, muscle strains, tendon injuries and more. Relaxed muscles enable greater flexibility in the joints. This allows for natural motion, with each muscle group pulling its own weight. Nothing more. Your humble foam roller can create those nice, relaxed muscles and help you avoid soft tissue injuries.
8: A foam roller can reduce the appearance of cellulite in the short term.
‘Reduce the appearance of’ is not the same as ‘eliminate’ or ‘cure’. That said, for ladies who have been wrestling with cellulite for years, being able to reduce its appearance for a while is enough. Without a doubt, the best way to get rid of or at least reduce the amount of cellulite in your body is to eat right and exercise regularly (6). In lieu of that, however, foam rollers have demonstrated the ability to smooth out areas where cellulite is typically present. If only for a day or so.
A foam roller is a great way to reduce soreness after a strenuous workout, to promote better posture, to increase circulation in your muscles, to improve your range of motion and to enhance your yoga practice.