Aha Fitness

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Roll With It: Giving Myfacial Release A Try

on January 8, 2013

Do your muscles ever feel tight, but when you stretch, you don’t get the relief you expect?  I used to have the same problem.  In my heavy running days, my hamstrings and calves would feel so tight the day after I ran, but even with stretching, stretching, and more stretching, my legs still felt stiff.

It took me awhile to experiment with what I needed to do different, but finally one day…Aha!  I found out about foam rolling.

What is foam rolling?  To understand how it works, you must first understand why your muscles feel so tight and stiff.  Surrounding your muscles is a dense form of connective tissue called fascia.  You can read more about fascia here, but basically fascia covers the inside of your body from head to toe, webbing itself around your bones, nerves, organs, and even your eyeballs.  This fascia can get knots or adhesions in it which can cause pain, stiffness, and can also lead to injury.

Imagine your fascia is like a balled up wad string that threads in-and-out of itself causing knots.  What would happen if you pulled the ends and tried to stretch the string?  The knots would just get tighter, right?  Well, this is what happens when you try to stretch a muscle and your fascia has knots in it.  The more you stretch the string, the tighter the knots become.  If when you stretch, you feel tighter not looser, you probably have some fascia knots you are pulling on.

How do you get rid of fascia knots?  By using a technique called Myofascial Release (fancy name for an easy thing to do ) on a foam roller.

All you do is get a foam roller that looks like this, and roll around on it until you find a tight spot.  Then, gently move back and forth just slightly on the area for 3 to 5 minutes or until you feel the tightness dissolve.

So the next time you feel like stretching, maybe try rolling instead.  After sitting at a computer all day, myfascial release on a foam roller can smooth out the fascia that has been held in a stagnant position for hours.  After doing cardio or lifting weights, foam rolling can realign fascia and help remove tissue waste that might have broken down during your work out.  I recommend foam rolling everyday.  A foam roller is for your fascia what a toothbrush is for your teeth.

Rolling right along…what about you?  Are you a roller or a stretcher or both?  Tell me about your fascia?  Got knots?

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