Foam rollers have become increasingly popular in recent years as the popularity of working out and gym lifestyles explode. Everyone, it seems, needs devices that help them relieve muscle tightness and get rid of annoying knots.
Foam rollers are popular because there’s evidence that they may help to delay the onset of muscle soreness following training. They may also help to reduce inflammation in the all-important fascia, the thin sack-like material that sheaths muscles.
But are foam rollers worth it? Well, you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Increased Range Of Motion
Foam rollers are associated with an increased range of motion. Studies show, for instance, that athletes who use foam rollers and stretching are actually able to increase the arc along which their muscles extend. The goal is to prevent gym bulk syndrome, which is where muscles shorten as they get stronger, preventing people from performing basic tasks, such as scratching their backs or touching their toes.
There’s also some evidence that foam rollers may help to reduce cellulite. They can do this because of the effect that rolling has on loosening up fascia.
Cellulite forms when parcels of fascia grip fat deposits in such a way that they create a cottage cheese effect on the surface of the skin. Even slim people can develop cellulite if their fat deposits form in a certain way.
Foam rolling might be able to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite by breaking down fascia pockets under the skin. By reducing inner pressure on fat, it bulges less.
Reduce Back Pain
Back pain is an exceptionally common problem across the West. Sedentary lifestyles combined with poor diet and exercise routines means that around 80 percent of people will experience it at some point in their adult lives.
Foam rollers, however, may be effective in combating back pain and reducing strain. To use rollers effectively, people should turn them vertically in-line with their spine and then roll them from side to side. Performing foam rolling this way prevents the back from arching, which might create a strain.
Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Today many people live with fibromyalgia, a type of chronic pain condition that usually occurs in the aftermath of a traumatic event. The disorder is generally difficult to treat because researchers aren’t quite sure what the underlying mechanism is. However, experimentation has shown that applying foam rollers to tender areas may help.
For instance, studies have found that people with fibromyalgia who use foam rollers for a twenty-week period have less fatigue, stiffness and depression than control. They also had an increased range of motion.
Help You To Relax
The modern world is an epidemic of worry. Anxiety is everywhere.
Foam rolling, however, might be a potent technique to break this cycle. By targeting muscles and helping them calm down, it sends a signal to the body that it is time to relax and take a break. Similar results can be achieved with a vibrating massage ball.
Should You Start Foam Rolling?
Starting foam rolling is very much a personal decision. Most physiotherapists generally consider the practice to be safe, even if it can feel a little uncomfortable at times.
If you have a muscle tear or injury, avoid foam rolling. Just wait and allow the body to heal itself. Don’t roll over smaller joints in your body, like the knees, ankles, or elbows as you are putting yourself at risk of hypertension. Roll out your calves first, then your quad, but don’t target the knee area.
Some pregnant women use foam foam rollers to help themselves feel more comfortable. However, you shouldn’t continue using it after the second trimester because it might induce premature labor.
There are several foam roller types on the market. Smooth rollers have a dense foam surface and are best for people who are new to the activity. They tend to be the most comfortable and, therefore, are more suitable for beginners.
The next most popular are textured rollers. These have raised nodules and ridges designed to apply more pressure to tight muscles and knots. They tend to work the deeper muscles in the body.
You can also get foam-covered massage sticks. These are primarily for the upper back and legs. Massage balls are another option for areas like the lower back.
Foam rolling can be a great way to reduce muscle tension both before and after a workout. It’s best when cooling down after exercise, and may be able to delay muscle soreness from exercise at the gym.