by Pam George

Rolling with a foam roller is one of the best techniques to relieve discomfort and pain in muscle and connective tissue. Many people start to experience discomfort in their body from injury, overuse, repetitive movement, and aging. Rolling with a foam roller helps push fresh blood into damaged tissue to speed up repair.

Rolling is like giving yourself a deep tissue massage anytime you need. You should roll three to five times a week for optimal results. Doing a rolling routine regularly can keep aches and pains away, increase your flexibility, and help with increasing your range of motion.

There are many types of rollers on the market. You should start out with a softer, less dense, foam roller and slowly build up to a harder, more dense, roller. This slow increase in density will ensure your compliance in using this new tool. If you start out with the wrong roller it will be too uncomfortable for your use, and you will not see the intended benefits.

Some of you may not be strong enough to use a roller and may need to use a different kind of myofascial release tool. There are many different tools available: rollers, balls, sticks, and handheld rollers that resemble a knobby rolling pin. Rollers are both smooth and knobby for a deeper, acupressure effect. You will need to learn the correct technique to effectively use the tool you purchase, and some come with instructions. A qualified personal trainer can also show you the correct use, as certain areas should not be rolled (low back, spine, etc.) and certain techniques can be used in only certain areas.

Once rolling becomes a part of your weekly routine, the the benefits are usually felt immediately.

A massage is always an option, and the YMCA is a place you can have a massage, but we offer classes that incorporate rolling, a convenient, efficient, and a cost effective way to keep your muscle and fascia pain free.