Tuesday, October 25, 2016

4 Ways Foam Rollers Can Transform Your Daily Routine

Foam rolling and self-myofascial release are hot topics in the health community for a good reason. Foam rolling has seen a meteoric rise in popularity with physical therapists because self-myofascial exercise routines make the rehabilitation process less expensive and more convenient for patients. Armed with nothing but a foam roller, patients can reduce soreness, induce recovery and eliminate the need for anti-inflammatory medications.

While foam rolling is most commonly used for rehabbing injured muscles, there are a bevy of lesser-known functions that foam rollers perform, which may contribute to the overall enjoyment of your daily life. Here are a few of the transformative benefits foam rolling provides outside of just injury rehab:

1. Take Traditional Ab Exercises to the Next Level
It’s common knowledge that sculpted abs are crafted in the kitchen, but it’s vital that a core-strengthening routine is adopted in conjunction with healthy eating. There are plenty of benefits to building a formidable core besides just looking good at the beach. A strong core prevents injuries, protects your internal organs and relieves your aching back by improving posture. 

Throw out the dubious infomercial ab-crunching machine that’s wasting away in your garage and try out a few simple, effective bodyweight foam rolling exercises. If you’re a gym rat that’s hesitant to transition from traditional sit-ups, try combining your normal ab routine with the simple addition of a foam roller. When paired with  common exercises such as sit-ups, planks and cross climbers, foam roller ab exercises give your body additional leverage, and challenge your muscles to stabilize and improve balance. 

2. Stress Relief for Better Sleep
Let’s face it—most of us don’t get nearly as much sleep as we would prefer. Frantic work, school and personal schedules keep us from getting the shuteye our body desperately needs. When we neglect sleep, our muscle tissue contracts and forms trigger points that lead to insomnia, which if left unchecked can create a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation.

Foam rollers target detrimental muscle knots and remove the tension causing sleepless nights. To help reduce those unsightly bags under your eyes, try a number of  foam roller exercises that massage along your spine, mid-back and lower back.

3. Make Your Desk Job Manageable
Wallowing in front of Excel sheets while sitting sedentary at a low-riding desk is more than just boring—it’s extremely detrimental to your posture and health. Correct posture is an often overlooked aspect of health in Western society, but slouching leads to crooked spine alignment and decreased blood supply. In addition to posture-related problems, stagnant muscles from sitting can form trigger points in muscle fascia due to underuse.

If you haven’t yet transitioned to a standing desk, try incorporating a few quick foam roller posture exercises to ensure your spine doesn’t start to slump. Perhaps the most effective exercise for office workers is an erector spinae roll that involves moving along the roller while keeping your backside locked firmly to the floor.

4. Reduce Recovery Time After Workouts
The soreness you experience after an intense weight training workout is directly related to the contraction of muscle fascia. Roll out these tense muscles during your cool-down routine and you can dramatically reduce your body’s recovery time. You may initially experience acute discomfort utilizing this technique, but you’ll be grateful when you’re able to roll out of bed the next morning.

By practicing self-myofascial release consistently with a foam roller, you’ll see noticeable improvement in your overall well-being. Add a comment below with additional exercises and techniques that have improved your health! If you’re interested in getting started with these foam rolling exercises, browse our popular range  of foam massage rollers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Massage Muscle Knots with the Marble Foam Balance Roller

You’re running a half marathon in less than a month and your training regimen has been derailed by a nagging IT band injury (iliotibial band). While not a debilitating injury, your sore IT band continues to flare up despite using anti-inflammatory medications and countless ice packs. Instead of calling it quits, curling up on the couch, and settling for a respectable finish at the local 5k fun run, try using a firm, long foam exercise roller to restore your range of motion. Before you know it, you’ll be bounding around the final bend, crossing the finish line, and snapping a congratulatory picture.

Runners love to run, and at iHealthSphere, we like to help people get back on their feet or prevent injury altogether. Foam rolling has long fallen under the radar as a way to treat sore or tight muscles, but it has begun to gain popularity in recent years.

What is “foam rolling”?

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial (self-massage) release that applies pressure to aching trigger points found in your muscle tissue. These trigger points or muscle knots are caused by a restriction of the muscle’s soft tissue (fascia) that stems from overuse. When muscle groups are overused, the surrounding connective tissue swells and suffer from inflammation.

http://cdn3.volusion.com/qdkvg.wbsmq/v/vspfiles/photos/MBRL603-2.jpg?1454013845Self-myofascial release (SMR) has increased in popularity amongst physical therapists as it improves range of motion without sacrificing muscle performance. A physical therapist equipped with a foam roller typically asserts 30 – 60 seconds of intense pressure upon each ailing muscle group. This can often cause a patient acute discomfort. Like a deep tissue massage, however, the temporary tenderness ultimately leads to pain relief, reduced soreness and expedited recovery. While this therapeutic method used to be reserved for serious athletes, the practice has since become mainstream and been adopted by the masses.

Benefits of the Long Foam Exercise Roller

You’ve probably slid your back along a standard foam roller before, but the Long Foam Exercise Roller goes a step above by providing additional length to facilitate balance training.  Boasting a length of 90 cm and a medium girth, this foam roller is incredibly versatile and can be used for purposes other than rehabilitation. Along with improving flexibility, the Long Foam Exercise Roller is perfect for building a strong core and toning abdominals. It’s the perfect companion for your beginner’s Pilates or yoga class because the extra surface area lends crucial support that keeps you upright, while still challenging your major muscle groupings.

The Long Foam Exercise Roller is crafted entirely from resilient, lightweight EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam.  This non-toxic, rubbery material is stress-crack resistant which keeps the roller’s soft cylindrical mold from faltering under a heavy burden. The Long Foam Exercise Roller satisfies irritated fascia tissue because its EVA foam provides the ideal amount of density and stability. In contrast, many competing foam rollers are made from highly porous polyethylene foam that inevitably loses its shape when exposed to humidity and intense use.    

Improve your balance, hasten your rehabilitation and release muscle tension by using our Long Foam Exercise Roller. Before getting started, consult your physical therapist to confirm that the foam roller exercises you’re practicing are an appropriate treatment for your ailment. Refrain from using your foam roller on bones, joints and your lower back. If you’re interested in trying self-myofascial release, browse our varied selection of foam massage rollers.