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Anyone can benefit from foam rolling!

Regular use of the foam roller can help improve exercise performance, alleviate joint pain, improve posture, and also improve mobility, making daily activities easier – who doesn’t want to move around with ease? It’s disappointing to say I know people who could pull their back just bending over to tie their shoe laces.

Foam rolling exercises help to release myofascia that has become tight which causes tension throughout the rest of the body. Think of myofascia as a superficial body suit that connects as one piece of material and supports and protects our joints and muscles. Tightness in myofascia can create inflexibility, poor posture, and pain in the joints like the knees.

Below are pictures of a few foam rolling exercises and how they can help you.

Lay on a foam roller on your upper right thigh and use your hands and elbow to prop your body up. Cross your left leg over your right leg and place your left foot on the floor. Take deep breaths as you roll down toward your knee. When you come to a sore spot, pause and hold it on the roller—applying direct pressure on that spot will help to release a knot. Hold it there for about a minute, then do short rolls back and forth over the area to help further release the knot.

The IT band is important in the stability of the knee especially during running. It is a thick band of fascia that rungs along the outside of the thigh extends over the hip and knee and inserts just below the knee. Foam rolling your leg is like giving yourself a deep tissue massage.

These next two pictures help to alleviate lower back pain. Keep in mind it’s important not only to focus on the lower back, but other muscles like the hip flexors and glutes that may be tight and can contribute to your lower back pain.

 Having your hands over head spread on the mat deepens the stretch. Roll toward the very bottom of your lower back to the middle for about 2 minutes focusing on the points that you are feeling the most tension and pain.

Place your hands on the ground in front of you for balance, like in a plank, making sure your back is parallel to the ground and your toe is touching the floor. Roll forwards and backwards on the foam roll, maintaining constant pressure on the very top of your thigh bone area.  One leg off to the side of the mat will put pressure onto the hip flexor of the leg that’s on the foam roller -for some people this may feel like a dull pain.

Some foam rolling execises can be very painful for most people. Roll 1-2 times a day, and once you get used to the tenderness, roll two to three times a week for maintenance.