Feel Great · Fitness

Foam Rolling Basics

Although regular exercise is an essential part of maintaining your health, people often forget that allowing your muscles to recover between workouts is equally important. Muscle recovery is crucial in order to avoid injury during workouts and allow your muscles return to their normal elastic and healthy state in order to perform at their highest potential.

Self-myofascial release, also known as self-massage, is often suggested to relieve muscle soreness after a workout. Self-massage can be done with a foam roller to apply pressure on specific points of your body to release tightness in the muscles.

Foam rolling specifically targets knots in the muscles and intensifies pain radiated in another area of your body once pressure is applied. When foam rolling, discomfort and pain are often felt, especially when applied to tight or sore muscles. The discomfort felt is similar to stretching or deep tissue massages – uncomfortable, but bearable. After foam rolling on sore muscles, the soreness and tightness in your muscles should be released. However, it is important to understand the correct way to foam roll in order to aid muscle recovery to prevent damage. The day after foam rolling, you may experience some soreness but the tightness in your muscles should feel like it has been released. At that point, drink plenty of water and allow your muscles to rest for at least 24 hours before working on the same muscle group(s) again.

Muscle recovery is an important aspect to your exercise. Foam rolling helps to relax tight muscles and prevent injury. If appropriate measures are not taken to aid muscle recovery after a workout, muscles can easily become inflexible, lose their adhesion, and experience pain during movement. Foam rolling enhances blood circulation in order to restore muscles back to their healthy state.

By Tammy Hong

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