The foam rolling revolution is showing no signs of stopping. Integrating a head-to-toe rolling regime into your fitness routine won’t just improve problematic areas – you will feel the results throughout your entire body. The following five benefits of foam rolling will show you exactly why this soft tissue therapy is (rightfully) all the rage.
What is foam rolling?
Also known as self-myofascial release, foam rolling is a bit like getting a sports massage. Only, you’re using your body weight to exert pressure on muscles with small repetitive movements on a foam cylinder. It works by releasing tension in the fascia (muscle-enclosing tissue), gently ironing out knotted connective tissue for better alignment.
What are the benefits of foam rolling?
1. Reduces injury and speeds up recovery
Studies into the benefits of foam rolling show that the therapy directly affects exhausted muscles and can be useful in preventing sports-related muscle injuries. When you roll, you’re putting pressure on your tissues and releasing trigger points. Literally, rolling out the pain. This is ideal for runners, who often struggle with shin splints and other problems caused by tight fascia. Figure out your most problematic areas and target them directly with some foam rolling exercises. If you’re unsure where to start, work with a personal trainer who can spot areas of movement dysfunction.
2. Improve flexibility without impairing strength
One of the most significant benefits of this technique is that it makes you more flexible – in the same way as stretching does – without losing strength or athletic performance. By loosening your muscles, you create less friction and smoother movements as a result. Adequately stretching your muscles with a roller can give you a broader range of motion, which leads to a more productive, powerful workout.
3. Faster fitness results
Combine a lower chance of injury with a higher range of motion, decreased recovery periods and sliding gliding muscles, and what do you get? A supercharged ability to exercise frequently, producing quicker results and reaching your fitness goals in no time. A study by the Independent showed that it required less effort for volunteers to complete an exercise after two minutes of foam rolling than after two minutes of rest.
4. Simple self-massage
Put simply, one of the top benefits of foam rolling is that it provides an easy solution to complex fitness headaches. Physios will often tell us to get regular massages – and the health benefits of these cannot be ignored. But we don’t always have the time or money to book in regular spa appointments. Runners and athletes utilise this nifty tool to release tension between visits instead.
5. Improves posture
Are you slouching? We have to check in with our bodies from time-to-time, especially when we spend much of our days slouched over a desk or steering wheel. Sitting for long periods of time can cause muscles at the front of your body to tighten – foam rolling can help loosen them up, kneading out knots and boosting blood circulation. Using a foam roller on your spine is an excellent way to straighten-out rounded shoulders.