Maintain Fitness and Flexibility with Foam Rolling

Sore muscles are a common fitness conundrum. A day or two after a challenging workout an all too familiar feeling sets in. It hurts to move your arm more than six inches in one direction, but it’s a good kind of hurt. What’s an exerciser to do? Foam roll.

Turns out this simple piece of fitness equipment is useful and easy-to-use meaning it won’t collect dust in the corner like that Stairmaster or ab roller. Even if you stretch regularly, foam rolling will sooth sore muscles by imitating the feel of a deep tissue massage and make your next trip to the gym more efficient.

How it works:
Foam rolling massages your superficial fascia, a soft connective tissue that’s located just below the skin. When this tissue becomes stuck to other underlying muscle tissue (adhesion), it can cause pain, soreness and reduced flexibility.

Prevent Common Injuries:
When muscle tissue is tight, it does not function at its best leaving you prone to injury. Loosening up the fascia prevents your muscles from becoming injury trigger points.

Relieve Stress:
Many of us hold tension in our muscles when we feel stressed. Foam rolling on a regular basis relieves knots and helps to alleviate feelings of stress. It can also loosen tight muscles that result from sitting at a desk all day long.

Maintain Flexibility:
Being flexible is key to staying active and injury free. The foam roller offers you the opportunity to work on your flexibility in a way that differs from the stretching you may already be doing.

With a bit of trial and error, you can find a way to target just about any muscle group with a foam roller. Here are some exercise ideas to get you started.   

Sources:
What are the Benefits of Foam Rolling, FitSugar.com
Foam Rollers for Myofascial Release and Massaging Tight Muscles, About.com/Sports Medicine
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