Why You Should Be Doing This One Thing After You Exercise
I bet that you’re thinking, “I should be stretching and/or warming up before I work out.” The answer is yes and no. Warming up by getting your blood pumping is a no brainer and will help with recovery and prevent injury but stretching isn’t always the best medicine for loosening up your muscles, because if you think about it, your muscles are like strings. If there’s a knot in a piece of string, stretching it will only make it tighter. So what can you do instead? You can try foam rollers. No, not the pink foam rollers you put in your hair, but therapeutic foam rollers!
When used correctly, foam rollers can work out any areas of tension by kneading them, like a rolling pin kneads dough. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they were once only used by physical therapists for injury rehabilitation. Now that they are mainstream, you can easily find them in gyms or any sports equipment store.
While helping to ease muscle tension, foam rolling has also been shown to have the following benefits.
- Improved blood circulation in your skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons and ligaments
- Lengthening of short, tight muscles such as hip flexors and tendons and ligaments, which are often prone to tightening.
- Increased range of motion
So how do you use foam rollers? One simple move is to roll your body over the foam roller, going up and down over the length of the affected muscle (your quads and hamstrings are a good place to start). If you feel any painful areas in the muscle, pause over the trigger point to allow the weight of your body to put pressure on the knot. You’ll also want to avoid any joints.
Have any of you tried using foam rollers before working out? If so, leave your experiences with them in the Comments section below!
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