It wasn’t until 2022 that I learned about foam rolling—also known as self-myofascial release. Essentially, it is a do-it-yourself technique to help your muscles and joints with flexibility and mobility utilizing a tool called a foam roller. Some might compare this to a massage, but it is important to note this method is one that you can do yourself. 

In my recent wellness Wednesday video, I briefly mentioned foam rolling and wanted to elaborate further and include some examples. There are many shapes and sizes of foam rollers you can utilize, depending on what part of your body you are trying to focus on. Different areas for focus when foam rolling can include the upper back, arms, abs, legs, glutes, and more. 

There are many reasons to foam roll including an improvement in posture, recovery from an injury, increased flexibility in the body, getting warmed up for an exercise, and more. A larger and longer foam roller may be used to massage the upper back and legs, whereas a smaller and shorter foam roller may be used to target smaller areas like arms and calves. There are even different textures of foam rollers you can experiment with to find what feels good for you. The standard type for beginners is around 36 inches long with a smooth surface, allowing even pressure throughout the roller.

Different ways to use foam rolling are shown in the image below:

Myofascial Release with a Roller image

There are numerous benefits to foam rolling, making it a versatile activity for all ages! For instance, increased mobility has been reported in focus areas immediately after foam rolling occurs. Continued focused foam rolling over time helps improve muscle relaxation and reduce/alleviate muscle soreness. It has even been found to improve joint range of motion and reduce pain in trigger points (e.g., knots in muscles). The best part? Foam rolling is a slow-paced activity that you can modify to suit your specific needs.

Foam rollers are readily available in any sports store and are commonly found in gyms. As a netlogx employee, a foam roller could be a possible option to spend your wellness dollars on! If you haven’t ever foam rolled before, there are “Foam rolling for beginners” videos on YouTube that can walk you through it step by step. I hope this inspires you to try foam rolling today or the next time you are at the gym!