Ever suffer from tight muscles, dull achy pains in places of overuse, or just general stiffness in the morning? You are not alone! This is common for the majority of people regardless of our age. We are never generally taught to roll and stretch and if we are it’s only because we have learned it through a physical activity. Truth is not everyone is physically active but everyone should have information on how to treat their bodies.
The way you can loosen up tight muscles and get back to feeling young and spry is through foam rolling. I will bring this therapeutic exercise into perspective for you. This can be aimed at anyone. Whether you lift weights, run marathons, swim, do cross fit, do group fitness classes, or even just walk! Foam rolling is something you need to be doing. Read below to find out why.
Tissue adhesions what are they and why are they bad?
Commonly called trigger points, adhesions are a result of collagen binding between layers of muscle fascia. In an ideal muscle the attaching fibers slide past each other with ease as you move. When adhesions build up these fibers get sticky causing friction in the movement of your muscle fibers when they slide past each other. The fibers lose elasticity and form tight bands of tissue that can cause pain and tightness.
What causes tissue adhesions?
Long periods of inactivity. Sedentary type jobs. Overuse from repetitive motions (common with runners). Muscle injury, disease, inflammation, or trauma.
What exactly is foam rolling?
Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release that you can do on your own body. It works by massaging or releasing muscle and fascial tightness. The roller applies pressure, helping to break up ‘knots’ or ‘tissue adhesions’ that can form in your muscles and tissue. You can also use a tennis ball against a wall.
What is Myofascia?
It is the thin layers that wrap first around every muscle fiber or cell. Then it wraps around bundles of muscle fibers. Then it wraps around the entire muscle body. The layers of fascia then attach to tendons and bones to help you move and mobilize. On its own myofascia is solid and non pliable which can limit your range of motion and cause tightness if not “released” or massaged regularly.
What is Myofascial release?
It is the application of low-intensity forces to soft tissues over a long period of time to help relax a contracted muscle. Myofascial release via foam rolling can stretch and loosen your muscles. By applying this small force over muscles and connective tissue over time, blood is squeezed out and replaced by fresh blood. This is important because blood carries vital nutrients such as oxygen and glycogen. Myofascial release also helps separate sticky muscle fibers to re-establish the integrity of your tissue. Causing a smoother easier motion for your joints.
1.Prevents injury as looser muscles move past each other with less friction. This makes movements smoother with less chance of pulling or tugging on tight muscles.
2.Helps recovery by again bringing blood flow and nutrients back to your muscles after being under tension. This also removes lactic acid reducing muscle soreness.
3.Helps break up scar tissue releasing trigger points and easing potential pain or discomfort.
4.Improves mobility and flexibility along with regular stretching can help lengthen your muscles.
5.Reduces tightness and increase joint range of motion.
6.Reduce pain and muscle soreness.
7.Helps you to manage stress and sleep better. Stress-related tight spots can lead to discomfort, which can impact on your sleep. Releasing or rolling after workouts can also cause a sense of relaxation in the body post workout which is good for your mental health as well.
8.Produce faster results as muscles and connective tissue are more healthy and less sore ultimately letting you train longer or more frequently while remaining injury free.
Important to Note:
You can also use a tennis ball against a wall which essentially does the same thing. Always stick to rolling your muscles rather than ligaments like your IT band or joints like your knees or elbows. You should skip your lower back for foam rolling but can use a tennis ball on the sides of your lower back avoiding the spine. For foam rolling stick to your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, traps, and lats. You can lightly roll the meat of your shoulders, but should avoid the actual joint. Same with your arms and elbows.
Now get rollin!!