When you think about fitness and exercise, I’m sure that most of the time you think about workouts and nutrition. But did you know that rest and recovery is just as important as the hard work you put in during exercise? Recovering can mean a lot of different things when it comes to fitness– it can mean taking a walk, visiting your chiropractor, or even getting a massage. Believe it or not, there’s a tool that you can use both in a gym or at home that helps with recovery and can help prepare your body for movement in your everyday life. If you’re looking for a way to promote blood flow in your body, target tight muscles, and give yourself an at-home massage, you need to be foam rolling.
Foam rolling is one of those practices that hurt so good. When you foam roll, it’s actually important to look for and stay in the muscle groups that are a bit more uncomfortable. Here’s why:
•Increase blood flow to the area and reduce heat buildup
This will help increase your range of motion and reduce tightness in your muscles.
•Restore proper tension to muscles
Your muscles work together to produce movement, when certain muscles feel “tight” it can cause imbalances in your body that forces other muscles to pick up the slack.
•Reduce collagen build up between muscle tissue
Too much collagen build up in your muscles can cause knots that prevent muscles from sliding smoothly.
Post-workout foam rolling is equally as important as getting your time in before your session starts. Foam rolling post-workout…
•Reduces soreness from muscle damage caused by exercise
The less soreness you experience after a workout, the more likely you are to come back for more.
•Help you relax after an intense workout (an important psychological factor!)
Those endorphins that have been released throughout your session will continue to be released through your recovery, too.
So next time you hit the mat and start to roll out, remember that the discomfort you might be feeling in a particular area could be a good indicator that you need to focus a little more there to get extra blood flow to your muscles. Do your muscles a favor and give them the proper techniques to recover.
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Michael has been working with clients in the gym and countless adults in a physical therapy setting since 2013. He spent 3 semesters working at Towson University with student-athletes from nearly every sport at the school. He served as the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Kennard-Dale High School during the 2019-2020 school year. His goal is to always get better and give you the safest and most effective use of your time at First Capital Gym.