If you have been following me for a while, you probably know by now that I talk about foam rolling, A LOT. Or you have probably seen a number of people at your gym foam rolling. The foam roller is definitely a great tool for reducing muscle soreness and increasing range of motion and flexibility. However, there’s a lot more you can do with a foam roller than most people think.
Here are six things you probably didn’t know a foam roller could do for you:
1. Decreases cellulite. I think there’s one thing we can all agree on. No one — and I mean no one — likes cellulite. Cellulite occurs when underlying fat pushes through weakened, dry, or brittle connective tissue, also known as fascia. Hence why foam rolling is called “self-myofascial release.”
This weakened connective tissue structure can be caused by gravity, aging, dehydration, a lack of movement, poor muscle tone and/or poor circulation. Foam rolling facilitates blood flow and circulation, smooths out the fascia, rolls out congestion, flushes toxins, hydrates and regenerates connective tissue. Long story short, it reduces cellulite and improves connectivity to the underlying muscles.
2. Improves digestion. Many people are plagued with digestive issues as a result of poor diet, stress, food allergies, consuming overly processed “food” and a variety of other factors. Using the foam roller not only helps smooth out “knots” in the muscles and joints, but it helps calm your nervous system, improving blood flow (noticing a theme here with increased blood flow?) and circulation to the organs, which helps digestion.
3. Improves sleep. Breathing efficiently is pretty fundamental to life, and it’s especially important to getting a good night’s sleep and reducing stress. Sleep apnea is becoming more common, and it can affect your sleep, leaving you tired and lethargic. Foam rolling improves elasticity in the lungs and calms your nervous system (as mentioned above), which can help you relax and breathe more efficiently at rest. Then you are able to sleep better and rejuvenate your body and mind.
4. Boosts metabolism. We’re all slaves to our metabolism, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make changes in our lives to improve or boost it. The right diet and exercise program can really help. However, foam rolling should be an essential part of your workout routine as well.
Why? Well, the roller can be used as a tool to get you heart rate up and help you breathe deeper, while also improving oxygen and blood circulation (still noticing this blood flow theme eh?), which helps flush toxins out of the body. Plus, using the roller this way helps you build lean and strong muscles, and realigning the body can dramatically improve and boost our metabolism.
5. Improves posture. Good posture is crucial to health and wellness, because the way you carry yourself is the way you’re perceived by the world. If you have a lot of overactive muscles, hunched over and unbalanced, that is exactly how people see you. So getting into healthy and balanced alignment and holding yourself tall is vital if you want to present your best self to those you meet on a daily basis and manifest your dreams.
Besides that, muscle imbalances can cause a lot of pain throughout the entire body. Tight back muscles can affect your knees, shoulders, etc. and vice-versa. Foam rolling can work out those knots and tight muscles and your posture will improve as a result.
6. Strengthens your core. Everyone I talk to about foam rolling or who has foam rolled with me is always amazed at how much core strength is required to position yourself properly on the foam roller. A strong core is not just about having “six-pack” abs, as attractive as they might be.
Having a strong, stable core is vital for maintaining proper posture, balance and overall strength. Your core sets the tone for your entire body. A lot of people who suffer from back pain, knee pain, neck pain, etc. is due to a weak core. Foam rolling will strengthen your core and there are a ton of ways that people use foam rollers for core exercises as well. Look some up on YouTube or Instagram!