It’s an important question. An unexpected injury can suddenly derail all your fitness goals.
Having to miss your workouts because you’re nursing an injury is disheartening and can totally throw off your once ideal fitness schedule.
Are you doing enough to prevent injury? Or do you just keep following your same old workout schedule and hope for the best?
There’s no excuse to leave injury-prevention to chance. Take an active approach to caring for your muscles.
One key tool in your pain and injury prevention toolbox is the foam roller. This simple device is cheap, easy to use, and extremely effective.
Still not convinced? Consider these 4 reasons to love your foam roller.
A foam roller is one of the best tools for injury prevention. It’s benefits are related to self-myofascial release, or SMR.
Massaging the fascia (the connective tissue that stabilizes your muscles) increases blood circulation, restores healthy tissue, and supports muscle tissue integrity.
Using a foam roller also helps break up scar tissue by putting targeted pressure on trigger points. By stretching and loosening the fascia, you get increased freedom of movement. That means less injury-causing imbalances in strength and movement.
Foam rollers aren’t just for gym rats. Sure, they feel great after a hard workout. But your muscles can become sore and strained from more than exercise.
Sitting all day is hard on your lower back, hips, and knees. If you don’t get a chance to stand up and stretch throughout the day, you leave work with tight, sore muscles.
Using a foam roller will help release the tension pent up in your lower body. That means less discomfort now and a reduced chance of chronic pain.
Research backs up the reported benefits of foam rolling for muscle soreness. A 2014 study concluded that foam rolling “was beneficial in attenuating muscle soreness while improving vertical jump height, muscle activation, and passive and dynamic ROM (range of motion).”
Part of the problem with muscle tension is that it severely reduces flexibility. If you’re stiff, you can also be at risk for injury and health problems later in life.
Using a foam roller will help you to keep your muscles moving and flexible by reducing tension. The result is less pressure on your joints and easier dynamic movements.
In one 2015 study, researchers stated, “Our results support the use of a foam roller in combination with a static-stretching protocol.” That’s because they found that combining foam rolling with static stretching helped participants achieve better flexibility than either activity alone.
In another study, researchers aimed to learn how foam rolling affects range of motion. They found that range of motion of the quadriceps improved after just 2 minutes of using a foam roller. This lasted for at least ten minutes after rolling.
Sure, getting a professional massage feels great and leaves you relaxed. But it’s not so easy on your wallet.
You can get a similar self-massage experience from your foam roller for a fraction of the cost. And instead of being a one-time thing, you can always come back for more whenever you’re feeling tight or sore.
Enjoy your foam roller sessions. Sure, it may hurt a bit as you roll out the tension. But the benefits are well worth it.