Recent research into foam rolling has highlighted the fact that foam rolling can be a powerful tool to help keep your muscles and joints healthy. A recent study reported that sessions of foam rolling after exercise can help to reduce the normal pain that is often experienced after exercise whilst another study found that foam rolling sessions produced immediate improvements in joint mobility. These are just a few of the benefits of foam rolling.
What is foam rolling?
Foam rolling involves applying pressure to the body tissues, usually by lying directly over a foam roll. The person moves their body over the foam roll (in the intended region) until a tender spot is found. Pressure is maintained over the tender spot for up to 90 seconds and then the process is repeated on a different region.
Why do it?
The idea behind foam rolling is that the foam roll changes the pressure of the tissues underneath it which helps the fluid to move in and out of the area with greater ease. All of our tissues thrive on being adequately hydrated in particular our connective tissue. In addition the pressure can help to desensitise these areas which may have developed abnormal responses to pressure.
What if I can’t get on the floor?
Not everyone can get down and use the foam roll with ease. Despite this there are other ways to get the same benefits. An easy alternative is using pressure applied through a rubber ball to the tissues instead. This can be done seated or by standing and pressing the body into the wall with the ball in between.
Introduce foam rolling into your routine
So while strength and balance exercises are essential, don’t forget to add some soft tissue work such as foam rolling into your routine to help improve your mobility.