Foam rollers are one of the most popular and in-demand pieces of equipment for helping individuals with exercise and injury recovery. Coming in all shapes and sizes, foam rollers can be an effective tool as a self-massager that can help place additional pressure on muscles to gently work out some of those kinks, knots, and release tension before and after a workout. As foam rollers become more popular, we’ve identified some of the top benefits of foam rolling and highlighted why you should consider using them to supplement your recovery from injuries.
One of the many things that could potentially cause you to experience muscle pain and the feeling of fatigue from a strenuous workout is the buildup of lactic acid. The burning sensation or feeling of weakness often occurs after an intense workout where the muscles were exercised to fatigue.
While research is ongoing to determine the extent to which foam rolling can help reduce muscle soreness after a workout, a recent study showcased some evidence that foam rolling after an intense session of exercise could help to alleviate muscle fatigue and soreness. Researchers found over the course of the study that the use of foam rollers could help improve the soreness participants felt in the days following the strenuous exercise.
Individuals who chose to use a foam roller after strenuous exercise were able to get back to exercising quicker and their performance in future strength workouts improved slightly compared to those who didn’t use a foam roller. Foam rollers are one of the many tools that physical therapists might use to help you alleviate pain and aid in the recovery process during your treatment for your chronic aches and pains. Foam rollers can be a helpful tool in dispersing some of the lactic acid that has built up in those muscle groups and can help promote the recovery process.
Another one of the benefits of foam rolling before and after a workout is that it can potentially make your muscles more pliable. One of the leading reasons that individuals experience an injury in the gym or over the course of the workout is that their muscles are unbalanced and tight. This tension can be a recipe for disaster when you’re not warming up effectively in the gym before asking your body to perform strenuous exercise.
With a foam roller, microscopic movements in the tissue can actually cause heat from the friction of rolling back and forth which can have many benefits. Some of these benefits include separating some of those muscle fibers that have become knotted which can alleviate some of the tension and help those muscle fibers relax and settle down before a workout. Foam rollers can be an effective tool for alleviating some of the tightness in myofascial tissues which can cause chronic pain through taut bands of muscle and trigger points.
When your muscles are more relaxed and the tension is reduced, your range of motion can improve as well. A normal range of motion with good control is an essential part of reducing future injuries in the gym to ensure that you can perform exercises properly and avoid placing too much strain on muscles and their supporting structures.
Using a foam roller isn’t the only thing that will help you improve your range of motion, as stretching in conjunction with foam rolling can be an effective method for improving one’s range of motion before exercise.
Foam rollers can also be used to relax both pre and post-workout. Foam rollers allow you to concentrate on slow and steady movements which can help you get your mind ready for the upcoming workout, ease tension in your muscles so you’re ready to begin your workout, and reduce stress levels before and after a workout.
Even a stressful workout can cause your mind to be racing a hundred miles a minute, and something as calming as using a foam roller for a few valuable seconds can help you transition from a workout mindset to a rest and recovery mindset.
There are many variations in the size and shape of foam rollers. Some of the many variations for foam rollers include smooth rollers, foam-covered, and textured ones that have ridges and indentations on them. Finding a foam roller that is both comfortable and the correct size and shape for your needs can take some time. Once you’ve found one, you need to make sure that it will suit your needs and won’t be a hindrance to you if you elect to carry it to and from your workouts.
Foam rollers are one of the many tools that your physical therapist might use to help you alleviate pain and get back to doing the things you love over the course of your physical therapy treatment. Physical therapy can help you alleviate pain and recover from injuries in addition to education on how to properly perform exercises to reduce the likelihood of future injuries.