Would you believe me if I told you there was a way for you to get a daily massage that will keep you feeling great and prevent injury for a one time investment of $20 and 10-20 minutes a day? And yes, it’s completely legal.
It’s true – and there’s only one catch – you have to do the work.
Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, is an easy, great way to reap the benefits of massage for those of us who don’t have the luxury of paying for it on a regular basis. Simply purchase a foam roller (you can find them at Target and Walmart, online or at any sporting goods store), follow the basic guidelines and get rolling for a more limber, more relaxed body that’s more resilient to injury.
When done properly, foam rolling can:
- Correct muscle imbalances
- Improve joint range of motion
- Relieve muscle soreness and joint stress
- Decrease muscle tension
- Increase flexibility
- Improve neuromuscular efficiency (ability to recruit the proper muscles)
How to Get Started
Foam rolling is pretty basic – you simply roll around on a cylindrical piece of foam, but there are techniques to hitting the right areas. There are a number of great guides out there that go through the various positions and methods of rolling.
A few sites I recommend are:
- The Art of Manliness – Hurts So Good: A Beginner’s Guide Self-Myofascial/Trigger Point Release
- Runner’s World – On a Roll
- Lisa Austin Foam Roller Class (video)
- Ashley Borden – The Guide: Rolling Out
I do have to warn you, much like a deep-tissue massage, foam rolling can be very uncomfortable. Start off lightly and work your way into applying greater pressure. The more force and bodyweight to rest on the roller, the deeper the release will be, so start by merely rubbing the roller over extremely tight muscles, move to applying a light amount of body weight and work your way up to full pressure. It’s okay for it to hurt, but it shouldn’t be painful.
Like a massage, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and keep moving to reap the greatest rewards. You can roll as much as you like, and I certainly recommend it immediately before workouts and would suggest adding at least one dedicated flexibility/foam-rolling session a week for optimal benefit.
The great thing about foam rolling is that it can be done anywhere. Go out and purchase one today and you can be rolling during the evening news and on the right path improving your overall health.