Foam rolling can be considered the key to a healthy body for so many reasons. Whether you’re a runner, a biker, a weight-lifter, a yogi or even not a huge fitness enthusiast— you should still break out the foam roller after your workout session to help prevent injury and speed up recovery time, break up scar tissue and improve circulation, mobility and flexibility.
Lactic acid is a metabolic byproduct produced by muscles after an intense workout that causes muscle fatigue and soreness, and foam rolling can help to break up this lactic acid and reduce soreness the next day. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that even if you’re not a fitness guru, office-workers are also prone to injuries, just different types than gym buffs are; and foam rollers can benefit this population just as much.
There are four common types of foam rollers:
- Low-density foam roller– This is one of the lightest weight rollers out there. It’s optimal for those who just had an intense workout session and are extremely sore, and can’t handle much more pain on their muscles.
- Firm foam roller– These are the densest foam rollers and the hardest when you sit on them. They are also the most commonly found rollers at gyms and physical therapy centers. This roller is perfect for a deeper, more concentrated rolling experience.
- Short foam rollers– These are very similar to the firm rollers, but they are shorter, easier to store and offer ease of rolling hard-to-reach areas.
- Bumpy foam rollers– With a bumpy, rigid feel, these rollers are designed to relieve muscle knots and tension quickly and usually with a little more pain than the traditional roller.
Three mistakes people tend to make when foam rolling:
- Rolling too fast– If you don’t move the roller slowly across different parts of your body, the rolling will not be as efficient.
- Rolling right on top of the pain– People tend to want to put all of their weight right where the pain is and that’s not the best idea, because your body is already hurting, so try softening the area surrounding the pain. Indirectly hitting the area will help to calm the nerves at the source.
- Spending too much time on knots– If you roll over the same spot for too long, you could hit a nerve, damage the tissue and cause bruising.