According to many trainers and fitness experts, the foam roller is one of the best new tools out there for providing a number of key physical benefits to those who want to develop a continuous fitness routine. The foam roller is a simple fitness aid, just a cylinder of flexible foam. However, it has quite a few major uses for any training or fitness regimen. For those who think that the foam roller is just like a foam pool toy or other consumer product, it's important to realize that fitness foam rollers are built with a specific amount of resistance for targeting different uses.
Using the Foam Roller for Posture
Posture is one of the major overlooked areas in many fitness routines. Those who like to do a "power workout" to build muscle may not think about how posture can help them. Local gyms and health clubs are filled with bodybuilders, speed freaks, and other power workout enthusiasts who may be great at doing cardio work, but not really oriented toward the more subtle aspects of overall body health.
This is where the foam roller comes in handy. Using the foam roller in specific exercises will aid in developing the core muscles that stabilize the spine and provide overall body support. It will also help in dealing with problems of posture.
Several common foam roller activities work to strengthen the core and improve posture. One is a variation of the hamstring stretch, where the user sits on the foam roller and moves the body back and forth with the feet. While the body is balanced on the foam roller, continuous body response is required. The user can feel how the body corrects its positioning to remain stable.
In other foam roller activities, where the user lies on the foam roller face up, the roller supports the lower back, and works on areas of the back that may be damaged or weakened.
Other Interconnected Uses of the Foam Roller
Along with improving posture, some of the same activities focus on what's called myofascial release. This is a form of massage that loosens muscles, promotes good circulation and strengthens muscle groups at the same time. While the body rolls back and forth on the resistant foam surface, the foam roller is kneading body tissue and loosening up muscles where they need it. Some trainers refer to "hot spots" or tender areas that may need more foam roller work. Users get the beneficial results of myofascial release along with some assistance in developing good posture, and overall body response to imbalance and resistance challenges.
Using the Foam Roller in a Fitness Schedule
The foam roller is great for all of the above uses, but there's still the idea of fitting it into a daily or other continual fitness routine. If you're looking for a way to chronicle your fitness progress and stick to a strict calendar for physical activities, check out Fitday.com, where you can find details on activity, diet and nutrition, and much more, along with tools to help you schedule and complete your fitness activities, and get closer to your eventual fitness goals.