WOW: Rolling for Recovery

What can a cylindrical piece of foam do for you? A lot.

Along with a regular exercise program, this simple piece of equipment can help maximize your performance, diminish recovery time and reduce muscle pain and workout-related soreness. I am talking about foam rolling.

Foam rolling is the concept of using a tubular piece of foam to “roll out” your muscles before and after exercise (a lacrosse ball can be used in the same manner, but can work deeper into the muscle). 

Why use a foam roller?
Using a foam roller allows you to give yourself an SMR, or what is known as a self-myofascial release. This simply means massaging and releasing the soft tissue on your body that is tight, painful or sore. 

Once thought to be just for pro athletes, the use of foam rollers has become increasingly popular with amateur athletes and weekend warriors alike. Really, it can benefit just about anybody since most of us tend to develop muscular imbalances and poor movement patterns over time that lead to tight or sore muscles.  

Does it really work?
According to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, delayed-onset muscle soreness (soreness felt the days following exercise) was significantly reduced when foam rolling was utilized for 20 minutes immediately after exercise, then again at 24 and 48 hours. 

Another study published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation explored the effects of different warm-up techniques on performance. Researchers found that foam-rolling in conjunction with a dynamic warm up was more effective in increasing performance than dynamic warm-ups alone.

But just like with any exercise program, to get the full effects of foam rolling consistency is key. I like to include it as part of my warm-up and use it on my off days, especially if I am sore.

Check out this video for five ways you can roll it out today.

Please note: If you feel any pain, stop rolling and REST on the painful areas for 30 to 45 seconds. Before performing any exercise consult your physician for clearance. Stop exercising immediately if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or have chest pains.

Find your strength at Carilion Wellness!