Media, Our Physios
Jun 17th, 2019
Jun 17th, 2019 / Nicki Chick
There was probably a time not too long ago where in most households the only roller that existed was in the kitchen drawer!
But times have rolled on. So, in case you’ve never heard of one or are not sure how to use it, they are an amazing tool to aid your recovery after working out or competing.
Rehab and Pilates physio Juliet Slade of Six Physio in London knows all about the benefits of the foam roller – using one “boosts circulation to the tissues, facilitating smooth movement,” she explains.
And foam rolling helps your muscles before exercise too. Test before you buy though – the lighter the colour can mean the softer the roller, but, as Slade explains, “in most cases this isn’t correct – they just look pretty if they’re brighter.”
While some have ridges and knobs for applying varying amounts of pressure, others are smooth. Newbies, choose the smoother ones first. But don’t take it too easy, 7/10 on the discomfort scale is about right, you can upgrade later.
Remember, your goal is ‘myofascial release’ and the following methods will help you protect your fascia – the soft connective tissue just beneath your skin that connects your muscles, bones, nerves, organs and blood vessels – by stretching and it.
Sit on the floor and position the roller under the area you want to release, before slowly rolling your body weight back and forth across the roller.
You can target particularly painful areas but to begin with, move slowly and work from the centre of the body outwards, focusing on specific muscle groups rather than individual muscles.
Think: hamstrings, calves, quads, outer thigh, buttocks, chest and back to name a few.
Research in the Journal of Athletic Training found that 20 minutes of foam rolling immediately after exercise and every 24 hours thereafter helps to reduce stiffness after hard exercise and prolonged muscle soreness.
Arguably the biggest advantage to foam rolling is how it benefits your posture – most of all your upper -middle back, which, as humans have become increasingly sedentary, has weakened.
“By increasing circulation using a roller, your muscles are prepped for a state of higher activity,” advises Slade, and as a result increasing the chances of better flexibility.
Improved blood flow, improving your immune system by releasing your fascia and decreased stress are further reasons to get a foam roller in your life.