I really believe that anyone could benefit from using a foam roll. Whether you are someone who sits at an desk all day, drives for hours or can barely tear themselves from the treadmill – your muscles will thank you for taking time out to roll out. There is no age limit, if you are active you should be foam rolling.
This is the science bit….
The technical term for the thing that happens with you use a foam roller correctly is Myofascial Release.
‘Myo’ means muscle and ‘fascia’ means band. Fascia, an embryological connective tissue, is a 3D continuous web of elastin and collagen fibres surrounded by a viscous fluid called the ground substance. These two fibre types allow it to be very strong yet have a high degree of flexibility whilst the ground substance is a fluid transportation medium and acts a slide and glide mechanism between structures.
Fascia surrounds, infuses and protects every other tissue, tendon, muscle, bone, ligament and organ of the body. In healthy conditions the fascial system is relaxed and wavy in configuration. This provides a cushioning and supportive mechanism allowing us to move safely without restriction or pain.
Following all physical and emotional trauma and through poor posture, fascia scars and hardens in the affected site and along the tension lines imposed on it. This causes the fascial network to lose its cushioning mechanism and internal structures become pulled out of alignment. This in turn creates an abnormal pressure crushing nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels and further creating tension on adjacent pain-sensitive structures and those along the fascial pull.
Problems with the fascia do not show up on CAT scans, X-rays or MRIs, but scientists are beginning to suspect that myofascial disfunction could be behind some chronic pain conditions, including sciatica, headaches and sinusitis.
Foam rolling increased the flow of blood to the muscles, which in turn aids in the delivery of nutrients and removal of waste. This increased movement of blood flow helps to maintain health organs and tissues. The lymphatic system is also stimulated, which in turn supports the immune system.
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