If you are anything like me, it’s your goal to stay in the best shape possible and find ways to challenge yourself year after year. When we start out in our twenties, avoiding injury for the sake of acheiving a goal barely crossed our minds…Even jumping off a roof was somehow seemed doable with minimal risk involved…almost nothing hurts us! All we had to do was figure out some type of creative dive roll landing and most likely we would walk away without getting hurt or injured!
If you’ve said goodbye to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60…etc you’ve probably learned through trial and error that the days of physical invincibility bordering on recklessness are over. Now, implementing strategies that help you remain flexible, mobile & injury free so you can continue to compete, challenge yourself & stay active is just as important as the workouts themselves.
The foam roller is a great tool for improving mobility & reducing risk of injury and it’s something you can easily learn to use on your own. In the following article I’ll give you a glimpse of what it is, why it’s helpful, and how to use it. Never heard of a foam roller? No problem, I’ll explain everything in the following paragraphs and give you a series of photo demonstrations on how to use the roller at the end of this article!
What is a foam roller
The foam roller is a foam cylinder (think pool noodle, but shorter and more dense) that allows you to use your own bodyweight to apply pressure to trigger points and sore, knotted muscles. It’s inexpensive, versatile and portable. The roller comes in a variety of forms, long, short, bumpy, soft, hard, and super hard.
This sounds odd I know, but determining which roller is right for you is often based on the amount of pain you feel during use. If the pain is excruciating, you need a softer and possibly smaller roller. If you feel nothing at all, then you should choose a roller that is more dense and firm.
Why use a foam roller
The foam roller allows the individual to perform SMR (self myofascial release). The (myo)facia is a thin sheath of fibrous connective tissue that encloses the muscles (picture tightly wrapped plastic wrap surrounding the muscle) and plays an important role in flexibility and mobility.