What is a Foam Roller?
Foam rollers are exercise devices used for massage and fitness. While usually long and cylindrical, they come in many shapes, sizes and varying textures. When used for self-massage, they help soothe tight, sore areas, relieve tension, and speed up muscle recovery.
Reasons to Foam Roll
1. Improve flexibility and increase joint range of motion
For years stretching was the “only” method to decrease muscle tightness and improve flexibility prior to either working out or performing a sport. Newer research, however, shows foam roller exercises before an activity can lead to an increase in flexibility.
2. Better circulation
Because blood carries oxygen throughout the body, good circulation becomes crucial to overall health. Among other reasons, a decrease in our circulation can lead to a whole host of problems like numbness in our limbs and a weak immune system. Myofascial release can help improve circulation by breaking up the tight areas where blood flow may become restricted.
3. Stress reduction
Foam roller exercises can help reduce stress post-workout. One study found myofascial release can lower cortisol, your stress hormone, that you want to seriously dial down after a strenuous workout.
4. Reduce exercise-related soreness
Whether you are an experienced athlete or a weekend warrior, you’ve probably experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Simply put, DOMS is the pain and stiffness in your muscles that can typically set in anywhere from 24–48 hours after an intense workout.
However, research finds foam rolling can substantially reduce muscle tenderness and fatigue by a moderate to large amount in the days after an intense bout of exercise.