Everything You Need To Know About Foam Rollers. Part 2
The Health Of Your Fascia
If you don’t know what fascia is, it is a connective layer of tissue that forms on and around muscles when a certain group of muscles is used a lot. This fascia layer tends to build up on muscles that go through many repetitive motions. This fascia problem is most evident in people that do a lot of running, cycling, and weight lifting. Exercise is however not the only thing that can cause a fascia buildup because it can also be caused by other repetitive movements such as carrying a shoulder bag or even from something as simple as sitting at a desk all day long.
Fascia is bad because it tends to inhibit your flexibility, your range of motion, and the overall strength and endurance of your muscles, plus it can cause some serious pain as well. A foam roller helps you perform something called self myofascial relief or SMR. The foam roller helps to break apart trigger points and break up the fascia scar tissue in order to keep the muscles and joints free of fascia. Using the roller properly will disintegrate the fascia and keep it in small pieces in order to keep the muscles free of it. The less of this fascia scar tissue you have, the more flexible your muscles will be and the more they will be able to do.
Something else that a foam roller can help you do is to increase your balance, something that is essential if you are lifting weights or going for a long marathon run. In your muscles, joints, and ligaments there are these specialized sensors called proprioceptors. These proprioceptors help you balance because they tell your brain and your body when it needs to move in order to counter balance the way in which your body is moving in order to stay upright and stable.
Doing any kind of exercise, especially weight lifting while standing on a foam roller with one foot will help to increase your balance skills by making your balance sensors compensate for your body being off center. Over time your body and these sensors will get used to having to counter balance to account for having one foot on a round object and therefore your balance will increase.
Decreased Recovery Time
As you may very well know, exercising does build up your muscles to make them bigger and stronger, but as you may also know, things tend to get worse before they get better. In other words, exercising and lifting weights will cause your muscles to have little micro-tears in them. These tears then heal over with scar tissue and new muscle mass that should be bigger than before.
The problem is that if you exercise too much these micro-tears will not heal properly and will actually cause your muscles to shrink, degrade, and get weaker, instead of getting bigger like you wanted. Using a foam roller will of course increase the blood flow to your muscles which in turn means that they are getting more oxygen and other nutrients that are in the blood, mainly protein. The more oxygen and protein your muscles get the quicker they will recover. This in turn means that you can exercise more often and achieve your muscle building goals much quicker than if you weren’t using a foam roller.