Why You Should Use a Foam Roller

Many of you have seen them: at the gym, at the chiropractor, yoga class, or maybe you’ve heard people talking about them.  So what’s all the hype about the giant foam rollers everyone seems to be using these days?

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It’s what some may say “hurts so good”.

Warming up your muscles before any physical activity is crucial to maintaining healthy muscles throughout not only strenuous, kick-ass workouts, but also during routine, daily activities.

Orthopaedic surgeon William Levine, MD, director of sports medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, explains that to increase range of motion and and to avoid injury, it is best to warm up properly before any stretching or exercise. “Warming up increases blood flow, which increases the temperature in the muscle, which makes the collagen fibers more elastic like a rubber band,” he says.

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In the morning, as well as before exercise, take the time to warm up and stretch your body. The great thing about the foam roller is that it helps you stretch muscles and break down tissues, mimicking a certain technique used by therapists called myofascial release. Facia is a thin tissue that covers every muscles and every fiber within each muscle. So at a basic level, when we stretch, we are actually stretching the fascia.

The foam roller also helps to decrease soreness and tightness as a form of recovery.

Myofascial release is done by placing pressure on the area that is tight and applies pressure to the area, lightly stretching it. Once the tissue relaxes, the therapist moves to the next tight area and performs the same pressure-stretch technique. The goal of this therapy is for the body’s muscle tension to equalize. When the body is not symmetrical, nerves and muscles can become compressed easily, causing pain.

The foam roller is a more individual approach to this tissue release. Self-myofascial release is excellent, because it allows the user control over the pressure and the pain. Users also then become responsible for the speed of their healing and recovery process.

1. Increases flexibility
One study concluded that using a foam roller for five minutes increased flexibility in the sit-and-reach test.

2. Reduces soreness and tightness
Another scientific study concludes that a foam roller is an effective recovery tool after exercise-induced muscle damage. Because the roller stretches the user’s muscles and tissues, it leads to an increased range of motion (ROM), making daily activities become more natural and easy.

3. Prevents injuries
Exercise can become bad for your body if you don’t take care of it. Specifically, your muscles develop knots through activity, and the knots lead to more injury and decreased mobility. Releasing the knots in muscles prevents them from becoming trigger points for injury.

4. It hurts so good!
Similar to a massage, the pain we feel during foam rolling may seem counter-active, but once you feel the magnificent results of the roller you won’t question it again! Also, if you maintain a good practice over time, foam rolling becomes less painful because the muscles and tissues are in better, flexible, shape.

The foam roller has recently become my favorite remedy of pain, alone with traditional stretching.

Stay happy and stretchy, folks. 🙂

☮ ✌

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Hey Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day this past weekend, I would like to dedicate this post and this week to my incredible mother. Her family has always been her first priority and she almost seems perfect in her motherly ways. Her dedication to my family’s happiness is insurmountable, and for that she is my best friend.

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My mother knows almost everything about my life, and probably understands me better than I understand myself. She has always helped me explore my options when contemplating a decision and has guided me toward being capable of making good decisions for myself. I will always need her help because she will always understand what is best for me more than anybody else. Never has my mother pressured me to do anything less than wonderful for me, and never has she rejected a healthy pathway to my happiness.  Her desire is for her children to be happy and healthy and loved. My aspiration is for her to live a fulfilling life, and I know she is capable of such happiness, regardless of physical limitation.

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I would also like to dedicate my completed senior project to both of my parents, because they have always taught me to be good to others and to ooze goodness. For them, I am infinitely thankful.
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I love you ♡
Stay cool.

Drink, drink, drink

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Let’s talk about some good ol’ H2O.

When I was a child, I thought drinking water was strange. It didn’t taste delicious and it came from the pipes that ran through the ground under me and my brothers swing-set.

I started to get really dehydrated and it would cause problems like give me frequent headaches, or sometimes even cause me to faint.

Finally, I started liking water. I spent money on a nice, new water bottle and tried to finish it every few hours. I began drinking warm lemon water in the morning, and I started feeling better, more energized, more awake and I wasn’t fainting anymore. So, for the next few years I was all about hydrate-hydrate-hydrate.

5 Reasons You Should be Drinking Lemon Water in the Morning

Then I came to college in a teeny tiny town in Iowa where the shower water feels like chlorine and the drinking water tastes like dirt. Great.

Being an athlete, especially during preseason training in the dog days of summer, it is crucial that I am taking in enough water before, during and after exercising. The problem was: it’s tough to drink a lot of water when the water tastes like dirt. Or sometimes chlorine. Or sometimes metal.

So, I stopped drinking so much water. During my freshman year living in the dorms I started to notice things like that the headaches coming back, I was more fatigued than usual, and my skin wasn’t as healthy as it once was. Once I moved into my own apartment, one of the first things I invested in was a water filter and I love it.

Target sells this ZeroWater pitcher water filter on their website.

A well known fact, our bodies average to be made up of 50-70% water. The Earth is about 70% water. Water.is.important. Here are some reasons why:

1. You can only survive days without it
The human body will only last 3-6 days without water
2. Water helps to regulate blood pressure
Because blood is on average 92% water, dehydration causes thicker blood which makes it more difficult to pass through the body, therefore elevating the pressure of the blood.
3. Dehydration causes fatigue. Water is energy!
4. Water helps prevent constipation
I know– gross. But water helps to provide fluids for some necessary bodily functions
5. Water improves muscle health
Muscles are made up of about 75% water, so staying hydrated improves muscle strength, control, and flexibility.
6. Lemon water helps boost the immune system
Drinking warm water with lemon in the morning gets you started on your day with a punch of Vitamin C and potassium.
7. Water is good for your brain
“Drinking 3 cups of water before completing a task can increase the brain’s reaction time by 14%”

Here is a wonderful, quick visual about how water affects our bodies

IF YOU ARE THIRSTY you are already dehydrated. Be proactive! Stay healthy and drink *clean water often 🙂

Live well. Drink more water.
Peace

P.S. Hammer-Hydrate! Drinking water is especially important when consuming alcohol. A good standard to set yourself is to have a 1:1 ratio. I like to try and drink a cup of water after I finish each alcoholic beverage.

This company does laboratory testing on the cleanliness of water samples