Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love My Foam Roller!

I've been pretty good about doing my leg exercises daily.  When I'm consistently building muscle in my thighs and calves, I tend to have less knee pain (patellofemoral and torn menisci).  The last two days, I've been almost pain-free.  And didn't wear my knee bandage or take any meds!

But with muscle-building come muscle knots and soreness, and sometimes less flexibility.   I was reminded by a coworker to use massage on the aching legs.  Enter my magical friend: Rollo the foam roller.

The foam roller lives in my living room, right next to my yoga mat and my exercise ball.  I see it every morning and evening, but I ignore it.  So thank you to that friend for the reminder!  I'm using Rollo again.
On the calves.  Aaaah.
On the quadriceps and hamstrings.  Aaaah.
On the IT band.  Aaaaouchaaaaah.

What's the IT band?  The iliotibial band runs from the outside of the hip down to the knee.
According to Wikipedia, "The iliotibial band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking."

Here's a short IT Band video from  I also use it on my midback, and even my neck.  I roll over the roller until I find the sore knotted muscle, and stay there for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing through the pain.  A great way to start and end the day.

This Running Times article by Clint Verran explains the importance of massage, and shows several foam roller poses with photos.  Of course, anyone can have muscle knots, not just runners.  We walkers and swimmers get them, too.  Even sedentary types get those knots in their shoulders and back, from poor posture and/or stress.

I like Clint's key points for foam roller exercise:
"1. Roll back and forth across the painful or stiff area for 60 seconds.
2. Spend extra time directly over the
knot or trigger point itself.
3. Roll the injured area two to three time a day. For prevention of injuries, two to three times a week is recommended.
4. Avoid rolling over bony areas.
5. Always stretch the area following
foam rolling."

 I bought Rollo at my health care provider for $25, but have found some online for as little as $8.95.

Time to go party with Matty (the yoga mat) and Rollo!

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