By Sarah Sekula, published in Orlando Magazine
Looking for a simple, effective way to relieve physical stress and tension? Who isn’t? Here’s some good news for your weary, aching muscles: Using a cylindrical foam roller a few times a week can provide significant relief, promote flexibility and help prevent future injuries. By rolling parts of your body over the cylinder, you gently stretch your muscles, releasing tension and restoring balance.
Known as myofascial release, it not only stretches your muscles and tendons, but also breaks down your body’s tight connective tissue, otherwise known as fascia.
“It’s one of the best ways to eliminate and prevent muscle knots,” says Joyce Ferngren, certified personal trainer and co-owner of Orange Avenue Gym in Orlando, where she teaches myofascial release twice a week. “You are loosening trigger points while increasing blood flow and circulation. It’s like getting a sports massage without the hefty price tag.”
Myofascial release is an effective post-workout recovery, but it also can be done as a pre-workout stretching exercise, before bed or even while watching TV. The best part is “it can relieve muscle tension and pain in as little as 15 or 20 minutes,” says Ferngren.
Glute Roll: Sit on foam roller with emphasis on one side of glute. Cross the leg of emphasis over other outstretched leg. Roll gently back and forth.
Wall Roll: Start in a squatting position with back against a wall. Place foam roller behind your upper back. Stand up, rolling the foam roller down to lower back.
On Back, Leg Extension: With roller under the left or right edge of your back, raise the leg that’s directly over the roller. Bring the arm opposite the upright leg across your body, twisting your torso while steadying yourself with your other arm and leg.
Lower Back Stretch: Place roller under a hip and raise knees, twisting back in opposite direction.