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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
You may not be able to prevent it entirely, but you do have the power to alleviate your pain with a foam back roller. In this article, we’ll dish out the benefits of using a foam roller for your lower back and teach you how to use one properly.
Many benefits come from using a foam back roller on a consistent basis. Here are just a few of the top reasons to add one to your collection of health and fitness equipment:
Fascia is a fibrous, densely woven connecting tissue that forms around muscles and organs throughout your entire body. Although this tissue is essential to your health, it can also cause pain when it constricts. A fascia buildup around the muscles in your back can cause stiffness and decrease your range of motion. By using a foam back roller regularly, you can prevent and reduce fascia buildup by properly breaking up the layer of fascia around your back muscles.
Your muscles require oxygen to perform their best—especially when you’re exercising. Without an adequate amount of oxygen, your muscles will tire more easily, resulting in a more strenuous workout, muscle damage, and even injury. Using a foam back roller will stimulate blood flow, which delivers oxygen to different parts of the body. The more oxygen your muscles receive, the better your workout and the smoother your recovery will be.
For many people all over the world, back pain is impossible to avoid. Whether the cause is exercise, standing for extended periods of time, or sitting at a desk all day, back pain is a debilitating result. Rolling on a foam roller at the end of a long day can help alleviate your pain. As the foam roller moves from your shoulders to your lower back, it stretches stiff and sore muscles and breaks up the fascia buildup that we mentioned earlier.
Even though there are plenty more benefits we could highlight, we’ll stop here to explain how to use a back roller properly and effectively.
There are a variety of ways you can use a back roller for your lower back pain, but the one way that you should NOT use your foam back roller is by placing and rolling it directly beneath your lower back.
You might think that if your lower back hurts, the best place to put the roller would be under your lower back, but that is not the case. By placing your foam roller underneath your lower back, you might increase your back pain if you irritate the already agitated muscles in your lower back.
Instead, use your foam roller to stretch out the connecting parts of your body that directly affect the muscles in your lower back:
Tip: It’s important when using your roller to avoid rolling directly against the bone.
Now that you know about the benefits of using a foam back roller and how to use a back roller for lower back pain, it’s time for you to start treating your back muscles to a foam roller treatment on a regular basis. If you don’t already have one, add a foam roller to your essential health and wellness equipment!
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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: