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