Health Benefits of Foam Rolling – Does it actually work?

If you are the proud new owner of a beautiful, yet subtle and non-assuming foam roller…you may ask yourself what does this roller do? What makes so magical? How does this cylindrical-shaped roller help me out maintain great health as I age?

Foam Roller

It’s such a simple, and yet sophisticated piece of exercise equipment…

How in the world does it actually make a difference?

I can tell you from experience I”ve seen major improvements in the mechanics of my body through using my foam roller. Even just two times a week, you can see gains in both your physical well-being and in your mental awareness.

Well, with some research… I’ve put together my top four benefits of foam rolling! Hope you enjoy and get something great out of learning more about your foam rolling practices.

Keep reading to find out exactly what the health benefits of foam rolling are.

Health Benefit #1 – It Helps You Maintain Your Body’s Fascia

Okay, so you might be wondering…what’s fascia? People outside of the athlete or medical community don’t usually go around saying, “Look at my fascia! I’ve got some AWESEOME gains in my fascia!” No, we don’t do that. So, let me explain. Fascia (fae-sha) comes from the Latin word “band”. In this case, we’re talking about the connective tissue of your body. This tissue is beneath your skin and it connects muscles and other internal organs of your body.

Fascia/Muscle Connections

According to https://www.fleetfeet.com/s/hartford/sports-medicine/benefits-of-foam-rolling fascia is something that is growing every day. If you are not moving properly or maintain good muscle movement, your fascia will NOT grow correctly. So, from there, aches and pains start to occur….and we all know that’s not a good thing, EVER. Isn’t amazing to know you actually have an ACTIVE role in maintaining to health of your fascia!

Foam rolling will …

  1. Actually brake up scar tissue that has been built through improper lifting and movement!
  2. This leads to the natural healing of your body’s fascia.
  3. This creates stronger connections!

If you have the choice and you know you can improve those connections, don’t wait around…do it!!

Health Benefit #2 – You Can Actually Increase Blood Flow

Yes, you read that right. Foam rolling can actually increase blood flow. Don’t go to pills for better circulation…get a foam roller! If you start the habit of foam rolling, you will naturally loosen muscles through that process. I know through my time with my rumble roller, my muscles are super-loose and relaxed. By moving and applying pressure to the different muscles of your body, you are actually moving the blood around (it’s that crazy to think about!)

You’re not just rolling around on it….you are causing the ingredients that make up your body (blood and tissue) to be transported. When that happens, it allows the flow of blood and with the flow of blood…comes new blood.

Think about it like the vampire going to the store and eyeing that bottle of freshly-squeezed blood! I can see it now. This is essentially what you are providing for your body every time you roll across that foam roller.

Health Benefit #3 – Your Body Will Become More Flexible

According to the folks at http://web.mit.edu/tkd/stretch/stretching_3.html We can define flexibility as “the range of movement in a joint or series of joints”. This tells us that being flexible throughout your entire body is a myth, because every part of your body has to be maintained individually.Range of Movement

It’s almost like a car…well, sort of. With a car, each part of the engine has to function/work efficiently in order for the whole engine to run smoothly. Well, with your body, each muscle group (and specific group within that group) has to be spruced-up and taken care of in order to gives you flexibility.

Just like stretching or yoga, roam-rolling provides you with a huge advantage of lengthening those connections and thus making you more flexible. Flexible enough to take on the world, right? Well, yeah.

I’ve noticed, after a single session (10-20 mins) of targeted foam-rolling, I feel more flexible and more comfortable in my body. If you do it correctly and couple foam rolling with a routine of yoga and/or stretching, you will see results!

Health Benefit #4 – Foam Rolling will Help You Recover Quickly!

I know you’ve been there… I have. You commit to that workout and work your buns off, only to find that the next day you can barely get out of bed…let alone, do another workout! Imagine a tool that could take at least 30-50% of that post-workout pain away. Wow….what a miracle that would be?

Enter……the foam roller!

You’ve probably heard of the term “Myofascial Release“. If you’ve been interested in foam rolling, chances are you have.

To make this easy to understand, it’s basically what happens when you get a massage! In short, when you use that roller, you are giving your muscles that release of tension (which is especially prevalent after an intense workout). That is myofascial release.

In the words of the great fitness guru, Tony Horton of P90X fame, “Why would you have somebody else gives you that release, when you can do it yourself?” And Tony’s right…, “Why would you pay money for somebody to do this for you?”

Use your roller correctly and you can achieve that release yourself!

Hopping on over to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465761/ the US National Library of Medicine. I found out that through this study, when used post-workout, the foam roller decreased muscle pain perception by a whopping 6%! I know personally that 6% will actually feel like 30-50%! Wow…what a difference that could make!

Workout
Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Here’s a little extra for you. Not only could it be used to decrease pain, but when used as a pre-workout type of stretch it has been shown to increase sprint performance by .7% and strength performance by 3.9%! I haven’t personally done that, but it’s definitely intriguing and worth a try to see how it can immediately have an effect on your workout.

What can you do today to improve?

So, now that you have read about four excellent benefits of foam rolling, what can you do today to make a positive change and improvement to your body?

If you are fortunate enough to already have a foam roller in your possession, use it!

Here’s a quick beginner move with minimal chance of injury, check this out…

  • Grab your foam roller and lay your forearm across your roller.
  • Take your another arm and place your palms together while laying on your stomach.
  • Press down with your other arm and roll slowly back and forth on your roller.

The goal is to apply pressure on your forearm and feel that myofasical release. Focus on points of tension and press in to that.

If you don’t have a foam roller …have somebody who you’re comfortable with, press into your forearm (massage) those points of tension. If they are pressing firmly (not harshly) you will feel that release.

Now….go out and roll with it!

I hope this post has provided you with an excellent starting point with foam rolling! Now that you know some of the health benefits…put them to good use and ROLL!

Tennis Ball

Then you’ll be on a roll….get it? Okay, I’m done. 🙂

Please make sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Happy rolling,

Ryan

20 Replies to “Health Benefits of Foam Rolling – Does it actually work?”

  1. This is a very helpful read! As someone who struggles with chronic pain, it’s good to know that there are exercises I can do at home that truly can relieve my pain. Also, I have a foam roller but don’t use it, so definitely gonna give it a try. Thank you!

    1. Hey Carolyn,

      Thanks for leaving a comment here. So happy that this post is beneficial to you is relieving some of your chronic pain. Foam rolling, if used consistently can really help with those trouble spots and knots that come up. So glad it has inspired you to start rolling again!

  2. Hey Admin – thanks for this article.
    I go out walking a lot on weekends and have noticed more muscle pain at the start of the week.
    i have had a foam roller for a few years now but only used it once or twice..the reason…is it supposed to hurt when rolling?
    with your last statements then it will (ish) until your muscles are released.
    so i might get it out and dust it off again.
    hopefully you are going to be creating some articles about how to use the roller over different parts of the body to release the tension, so for walking.. the glutes and leg muscles, and possibly lower back…from carrying the rucksack.
    So again thanks for this and i will watch out for more from you.

    1. Phil,

      Thanks so much for your kind words on my article! Thanks for your question. So, from my experience..foam rolling should be a like a good stretch, it shouldn’t be extremely painful. You should push yourself a bit and feel the pressure of the roller, but it shouldn’t be something that really hurts. You’ve got to ease into it. Like I said, it’s like stretching or yoga ….you don’t want to overdo it. Instead, take smaller steps. Also, remember when you are using it, to breathe…that really helps.

      And yes, I’ll definitely be writing more about how to use foam rollers (exercises, warm-ups, etc.)

      By the way, great job getting out and walking! Good for you. I’m going to be writing a post about foam rolling for runners soon, so stay tuned for that.

      Have a great day!

      – Ryan

  3. The good-looking site and what a creative and nice domain name, youroller, I really like it! However, I find this article about foam rolling and its benefits as simple enough but helpful and educative! I have been a sportsman in several sports, mainly within the strength and speed-strength sports and “maintenance” your muscles and joints are very important yet pretty underrated and underused way too often. I have been using my foam rollers +5 years and when I started, I got only people to look me and wondering what the heck this guy does. Nowadays people in the gym and sports halls seem to understand the benefits of foam rollers cause they ask tips and if it helps or not. My answer is it DEFINITELY helps! Thanks for sharing the article!

    1. Jesse,

      First off, thank you so much for your positive words about my site and domain name. I guess I could I was inspired by the simplicity of combining “you” and “roller” which could also be read as “your” “roller”. I love using foam rollers and they make such a difference! I think everybody should try to incorporate them into their routines (warm-up and cool down). Good for you, man…I’m sure using a foam roller for so long has helped you tremendously.

      I will definitely be writing more, so make sure to come back and check it out.

      Thanks again!

      – Ryan

  4. Hey I have two foam rollers. Not the same one you have here but I have two of them. I used the softer blue one and my husband uses the tough black one.

    Although I don’t use it as often as I should. I know it good for you but after reading your post I didn’t know it helps you with scars tissue healing. I better start using my roller again!

    I use to work out with Tony Horton P90X, intensed!

    1. Kelyee,

      Yes, Tony Horton is intense!!! But…I love his workouts, I’ve learned so much from him. That’s great that you and your husband both have rollers! Yes, my wife also has a regular foam roller without the bumps (but it still works very well!) The rumble roller is a more advanced foam roller, but it definitely does the trick and helps out so much. It’s what I use 2-3 times a week.

      Through my research, I learned that you can really heal that scarred tissue…isn’t that amazing! With such a simple tool and some good techniques…wow. Be sure to come back and check out a new post I’m going to be writing on the best foam rolling routines.

      Remember, there’s no better time to start than today!

      Have a great day!
      – Ryan

  5. I don’t have a foam roller but I have a problem with pain after my workout and now I am definitely considering this to help me relieve my pain. Thanks for the information.

    1. Gojko,

      Thank you for checking out my website and your wonderful comment. If you are experience pain, please try a foam roller..they help sooooo much! You’ve gotta start out easy with it and then progress as time goes on…but it will be such a great investment for you. I’ll be writing a post soon about some of the best foam rollers to buy, so make sure to check that out!

      Thank you again!

      – Ryan

  6. I love the foam rolling, I also use it before training, it can help relax the muscle. Great post, let me know there are also so many other benefits of the rolling.

    1. Lena,

      Wonderful!! Yes, it does help relax the muscles. I highly recommend it! I use mine at least 2-3 times a week to loosen up tense muscles. Thank you for your comment!

      – Ryan

  7. Hi Ryan, thank you for a very interesting article on foam rollers.

    I must be the only one who had not heard of foam rolling before I came across your article.

    You mention a lot of health benefits of using a foam roller and I want to buy one as I think it may help me with the pains and cramps I get in my lower legs, what do you think?

    Can you recommend a place where can I buy one?

    1. Hey Moni!

      First off, thank you so much for your kind words. Yes sir. It’s a great thing to have in your fitness toolkit. It will do wonders for your lower leg! The one I have is a rumble roller (for advanced folks) but I checked amazon and they’ve got one with great reviews here

      https://www.amazon.com/LuxFit-Speckled-Roller-Instructional-18-Inch/dp/B01BW2YZ1O/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=foam%2Broller&qid=1568849294&s=gateway&sr=8-6&th=1&psc=1

      Check it out! They recommend the longest one at 36”

  8. Very interesting information here, and you about some of the great health benefits that rolling can provide, but have yet to try it for myself. Maybe as my training increases I will consider it more now!

    Thank you for sharing.
    James

    1. James,

      Absolutely! I love my foam roller. It really can do wonders and it feels great afterwards. If you do it right, it can be very similar to a massage. I’m actually gonna use it today. Thanks so much for your comment!

  9. Great post!
    I have a foam roller that I use every day and it definitely has been worth buying.
    I like the benefit about helping your body to recover faster. This feels true to me because after I foam roll I have less soreness.
    Thanks for an informative post!

    1. Yes sir! It definitely helps. I know I’ve never had a time where the foam roller hurts me or causes pain..it’s always a blessing. Thanks so much for the encouraging words about my post, I really appreciate it!

      – Ryan

  10. Hello Ryan,

    As a Physician, I always search for methods and ways away from surgeries and medication to relieve pain and help my patients. When I encountered Foam rolling, I started digging for more information about it. I enjoyed your detailed article about this tool. I want to try it personally before I suggest it to my patients.

    What I would love to read in your next posts some details to how to use it with pictures or videos to be a good source for anyone.

    1. Dr. Alkhawaldeh,

      Wonderful! I’m glad you found this article really great to read. I think it will be great for your patients to try! I will put up some pictures and video of my favorite foam roller exercises soon. Stay tuned!

      Thanks for checking the site out!

      – Ryan

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