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.