August 5, 2011 at 3:52
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Ask most people whether they do enough stretching after exericising and the answer is invariably no. Yet flexibility is a vital element of fitness and you neglect it at your peril.
If you only focus on strength and cardiovascular fitness, you are effectively building a good looking facade but on shaky foundations. And eventually, the cracks and strains will show.
Think this doesn’t apply to you. Do you suffer from aching knees after running? Pain at the side of the knee or behind? Sore thigh muscles? This is all down to a lack of flexibility which can easily be avoided.
But what do you do if you don’t have the time to spend hours doing yoga, and you can’t afford a regular sports massage? The solution is a simple, inexpensive piece of kit called a foam roller, which does the same work as a sport massage therapist but at a fraction of the cost.
So, what is a foam roller? It’s a small, cylindrical piece of hard foam which helps to lengthen and release muscle fibres, increase blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues and myofascia.
This is the soft connective tissue that wraps and connects muscles, bones and blood vessels. When we exercise regularly without sufficient stretching, this tissue can get stuck together, a bit like a wad of chewing gum. This results in restricted movement and reduced range of movement in joints.
Moreover, if one muscle is affected, another will start overworking to compensate. The result is a dominio affect which severely affect’s the body’s natural movement pattern invariably resulting in injury.
When all this can be avoided with a simple piece of equipment costing £15, why would you not use it?