Guys, today is the best and worst day of the year. It’s NATIONAL FOAM ROLLING DAY! That thing we love to hate to love has its own day? Awesome.
Why do we love the humble foam roller? Because it’s good for our fascia.
What the heck is fascia?
FASCIA is a band or sheet of fibrous connective tissue that weaves throughout your entire body. It attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates your muscles and internal organs. Super important.
What you want is for your fascia to be good and mobile, able to slide and stretch as you move. However, most of us – especially runners – have restricted fascia in some part of our body. How does this happen?
Working out hard creates slight tears in your muscles, explains Stephanie Shane, D.P.T., a physical therapist in New York City. As the muscle heals and becomes stronger, adhesions—commonly known as knots—sometimes form between your muscle and your fascia (the layer of connective tissue that sits between your muscle and your skin). Normally, muscle and fascia glide across each other when you move, but if you have adhesions, the muscle doesn’t contract like it normally would. “That’s what foam rolling helps correct.” (Women’s Health Magazine)
So what does a daily foam rolling session do for us?
BREAKS UP ADHESIONS
Once you get rid of those little knots, your fascia is able to slide and glide over your muscles more easily, which means a better run and recovery! Have you ever been on the foam roller and rolled onto one spot and felt like you were going to pass out? That’s an adhesion. It is recommended to roll onto that adhesion and hold it there for a few seconds, then release.
See above. Adhesions go away, fascia glides smoothly, muscles can perform optimally during your workout, which leads to…
We know this – tight muscles cause issues. Regular foam rolling helps increase mobility and circulation which preserves integrity of movement with your muscles (i.e. one muscle group doesn’t have to overcompensate to pick up the load for another.)