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Foam roller benefits are endless. From helping you sleep better and reducing stress to increasing blood circulation and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, there’s a foam roller out there for you. You may think foam rollers are only for athletes or dancers, but knowledge about foam roller benefits and how they can be used has come a long way. They’re not just for athletes anymore.
Simple daily activities can strain and constrict your muscles more than you may realize. Small chores like lifting heavy groceries, running to catch a bus, or even just sitting at a desk for work, strain your muscles and cause tension. Foam rollers are an aid to myofascial release, meaning they help release tense muscles that form knots or trigger points in your body. Trigger points form when you exert your muscles and can cause extreme soreness. They are a result of constricting tissues surrounding sore or tense muscles and can get worse if not properly massaged.
There are many benefits of using foam rollers. Here are the top three best foam roller benefits to improve your health.
The best time to use your foam roller is right before bed. Take 15 minutes and roll out your aches and pains. Knots and trigger points can worsen over time if they are not massaged regularly. These trigger points can contribute to insomnia and back pain while you’re sleeping. If you struggle with insomnia and wake up to back pain in the morning and you’re wondering how to sleep better, try foam rolling before bed and see the results for yourself.
When fighting insomnia and back pain, spinal flexibility is especially important. Here are the main reasons to roll out your spinal area before bed:
Even if you’re not concerned with sore muscles on a daily basis, you could use foam rolling to get better sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed. Try doing a thoracic spine roll out before you go to bed. This simple roll involves placing the roller horizontally under your back, bending your knees, and crossing your hands over your chest, while gently rolling the foam roller up and down the length of your back. Be careful to avoid the neck and lower back region, as it is not suitable to use a hard foam roller in these areas. Learn how to sleep better with your foam roller.
Going to the spa for a massage is a great way to decrease stress in your body as well as your mind. However, it’s not very feasible to pay for massages several times a week or to spend hours getting them. Thankfully, the stress relieving benefits of massage are available for a one-time fee, at a fraction of the cost. Foam rollers provide many of the same benefits as getting a traditional massage, but foam rolling can be done from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Stress manifests in your body in many ways, one of which is through tension or soreness in your muscles. By relieving tension and soreness in your muscles through foam rolling, you also decrease mental stress.
Several studies on reducing muscle soreness and tension show that foam rolling can decrease recovery time from exercise. One test involved two groups of physically fit young men who performed a series of squat exercises to induce muscle soreness. The first group used foam rollers immediately after exercise as well as 24 and 48 hours later. The second group did not use foam rollers at all. The researchers performed a vertical jump test with both groups. The group that used foam rollers performed significantly better than the control group that did not use anything to aid in muscle recovery.
Foam roller benefits also include increasing your dopamine and serotonin levels, which boosts your mood and reduces stress. Learn how to reduce stress by focusing on each muscle while foam rolling and take your mind off the stresses of the day.
Foam rolling also benefits your heart health. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that consistent foam rolling improved vascular endothelial function and decreased arterial stiffness. Dysfunction of the vascular endothelial is a contributor to cardiovascular disease. When you reduce arterial stiffness, blood circulation is better and oxygen flow to the muscles improves.
When you use your foam roller, you are improving the circulation in your muscles which allows more oxygen to reach trigger points and sore areas. The improved oxygen flow to the affected area allows the muscles to heal faster and improves recovery time. By foam rolling regularly you are increasing blood circulation and promoting a healthy heart.
Before you begin rolling away your aches and pains, you will want to get down some of the basics of foam rolling. To get the best foam roller benefits, always start rolling with the shoulders, and then move on to other muscles that are sore and in need of attention. Use a press and roll motion when using your foam roller, your body weight will press down on sore muscles and trigger points, as you roll to relax and release them.
To get the full benefit of rolling, make sure to focus on each muscle group for 60 seconds, rolling slowly. If you roll too quickly, you won’t work knots effectively. If you come across a trigger point while rolling, focus on that point and slowly roll it out for 60 seconds. It might be uncomfortable to roll out particularly sore or tight areas but taking it slow will make your muscles feel better afterward.
In addition to foam rolling, heat therapy can relieve sore muscles and help you roll them more effectively. Products like foam rollers from Moji, allow you to use heat therapy in conjunction with foam rolling for maximum benefits.
Some of the benefits of heat therapy include:
Keep in mind, that heat therapy is best for sore muscles and shouldn’t be used for acute muscle injuries.
Choosing the best foam roller is a key step in reaping foam roller benefits. Combing heat with foam rolling will give you the best results and allow deep tension and trigger points to release and relax. Moji foam rollers combine the benefits of heat and foam rolling to improve blood circulation, reduce stress and help you get better sleep every day.
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: