One of my goals this year is to stretch more…
But stretching alone isn’t always enough to release muscles tightness. This is why my goal has evolved into foam rolling 2-3 times a week as well.
After this weekend’s race – foam rolling was/ is my total saviour. I raced the London ITU Sprint Triathlon in Hyde Park and it really took a toll on my body. My energy levels feel low and I’ve been really stiff and uncomfortable this week. My muscles have finally started to loosen up now which I will attribute to 1) drinking lots of water and eating lots of nutrient filled foods 2) taking a couple rest days directly after the race 3) swimming on Tuesday which got my muscles moving again (could also be called an impromptu ice bath because it was so cold!) and 4) stretching and foam rolling.
You don’t have to feel stiff and uncomfortable to foam roll however. Rolling out your muscles is a great activity which benefits all lifestyles…
Here’s some info about what it is, what it does and why you should give it a try!
What is foam rolling?
Foam rolling is essentially a DIY deep tissue massage. It allows you to release muscle tension by rolling out tight areas and knots (also known as trigger points).
Stretching releases tightness but any existing trigger points will remain intact until it is broken down and brought back to its natural state. Rolling out and breaking down these trigger points reinstates normal blood flow in the area and releases the tension.
What CAUSES Trigger Points?
You don’t have to be in training to justify bringing foam rolling into your routine… trigger points are caused by many lifestyle factors including nutrition, movement patterns, posture, hydration, rest and stress.
You might not realise these knots, as they can form over time. When this happens, trigger points become something we get used to and something we end up unknowingly living with and compensating for.
When you train, trigger points are brought to your attention. This is because you start asking a lot more of your muscles… and this is when your muscles start to ask a lot more of you – listen to them when they do.
Why Foam Roll?
Getting rid of trigger points and releasing tension in tight muscles, allows your muscles to return to their ‘normal’ state, increasing movement and resuming normal blood flow.
It might be painful/uncomfortable during the session but as soon as you finish, you’ll feel the difference… and it’s quite addicting!
The body naturally wants to be healthy and strong and when you get used to your muscles feeling ‘normal’ – you’ll want to keep it that way.