Develop a Habit of Foam Rolling
Foam Rolling can give you tremendous benefits in your life. Everything from pain management to flexibility, foam rollers can do wonders for your health. There are some studies coming to light that show the benefits of foam rolling, but there are also countless people who swear by it.
The problem is that developing new habits are difficult! Yes we may know how good we feel after foam rolling, but it is easy to get busy and not take breaks at work, etc so that eventually we feel muscular discomfort and pain. Or maybe we exercise a lot without using a foam roller before and after our workouts.
The way foam rolling can give you the most benefit is simply sticking with it. That’s why you need to make it a goal to develop, what we at muscle foam roller call, the foam rolling habit! Below are some tips to get you started on your way to a lifelong journey of foam rolling and better well-being.
1. Place the Foam Roller in plain sight
One great way to get yourself to develop the foam rolling habit is to set your foam roller out somewhere that you will see it a lot, such as your living room or bedroom. If you have it set out in plain site, then it’s always there for you to see. It becomes a constant reminder to use the foam roller throughout the day.
If you don’t like the looks of it on the middle of your living room then you can set it up against the wall in a corner, so it’s not as noticeable. You should put it up against the corner of wall somewhere anyways so nobody accidentally steps or trips over it.
2. Start Foam rolling while watching TV
Another great way to get yourself to adopt the foam rolling habit, is to simply foam roll while you watch TV. This is one of the most simple and effective things you can implement in your daily routines! Most people watch at least a half hour to an hour of TV almost every day, so why not hop on the foam roller and roll your muscles out while you’re watching game of thrones! Watching TV while rolling will keep your muscles much more healthy than merely being a couch potato and remaining sedentary. Most people are sedentary all day at work, then maybe go to the gym and come home to vedge out some more.
3. Start Foam Rolling at Work
Another great way to use the foam roller more often and develop the habit, is to bring a foam roller to work. If you wanted to be a little bit more discrete, you can get a muscle roller stick or a travel size foam roller to bring to work.
If your boss or place of business allows you to use the foam roller while taking breaks at work, then great! If not, you should work to confince them of the benefits it would bring to your productivity. Since we spend the majority of our days at work and many of us work at a sedentary job, you should talk to somebody that has the power to grant that ability. You can explain to them how important it is for yours and other people’s well-being.
Taking a lot of breaks and preferably foam rolling on those breaks, can have a dramatic effect on decreasing myofascial trigger points, which cause muscle pain. Employers may not realize that it doesn’t take very long to use a foam roller. It may just take a few minutes and it will keep the employees refreshed and able to focus more on the work because they’re having increased blood flow and less pain associated with the repetitive stress of sitting or doing computer work all day long.
4. Take lots of breaks while sitting for long periods
Though this may or may not involve foam rolling, you should always take breaks when sitting for long periods of time. There have been recent studies that suggests sitting is the new smoking. It is bad for your body to sit for long periods of time.
Preferably, you would get your foam roller out and start foam rolling while taking these short breaks. This would allow the much needed blood flow and circulation to take place on muscles that are overworked by sitting down too much.
5. Bring a foam roller while traveling
Similar to foam rolling at work, you should also make it a point to bring a foam roller while you are on vacation. Many people have to travel for work or just for pleasure, and end up sitting on a car, bus or train for a long time. A travel foam roller can easily fit in your luggage, so you can undo the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time while traveling.
Many people like to visit the hotel gyms to get a quick workout, while on vacation. Why not bring a travel foam roller so you can easily get some foam rolling done as well?
6. Foam roll before workouts
Another tip would be to use a foam roller every time you are about to start a workout. You can just do it for a few minutes before your workout to warm the muscles up and loosen up your body.
Foam rolling before a workout actually seems to be the new stretching for many people. Foam rolling has similar benefits to your body as stretching, but it doesn’t weaken your muscles temporarily like stretching does. While they both have similar beneficial effects on the muscles, foam rolling seems to be a more logical pre-workout activity because it doesn’t cause a decrease in muscular performance like stretching does.
There have actually been studies done that show a decrease in muscular performance. When you stretch, you are essentially elongating the muscles. And for quick power movements like sprints, it needs to quickly shorten the muscle to contract your leg muscles to sprint. So many fitness professionals now recommend stretching after a workout, and instead do similar movements and warm ups as your main workouts.
7. Foam roll after workouts
Another tip is to use a foam roller right after your workouts. This can help speed your recovery and reduce pain associated with the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You can use a foam roller between your workout days as well to reduce the pain caused from DOMS.
Many people will foam roll before and after workout or just after workouts, depending on their own personal preference and how their body reacts to rolling. I personally like to get a quick foam rolling session before and after a workout.
9. Focus on making it a habit
Another way to adopt the foam rolling habit is to really focus your energies on turning it into a new habit. The problem is, many of us get very busy and we forget to implement the foam rolling on a daily or weekly schedule.
If you can continually foam roll for a month it is much easier to develop the habit. If you can just get yourself to do something everyday for 30 days it can be much easier to develop a habit. Everybody is different though. Some people, after 30 days will still struggle keeping the habit. Others will have developed a habit. If you need longer try 60 days of foam rolling and once it becomes a habit you don’t have to use discipline any longer. It just becomes as natural as brushing your teeth.
8. Set an alarm or even reminder
Another way you can use the foam roller more often is to set an alarm or event reminder on your calendar. Maybe you want to remind yourself to do it every day or every other day. Maybe you want to remind yourself to do it several times a day, everyday.
The frequency of your foam rolling habit all depends on how your body reacts to foam rolling. It is a personal preference. I personally try to roll every single day.
You may decide to set a schedule to use a foam roller several times a day, once a day, or every other day. The important thing to remember is to just be consistent with it. When you are first staring out on your foam rolling habit, it can definitely help to use a reminder (alarm or calendar event) on your iPhone or smartphone device.
10. Educate yourself on myofascial trigger points
Another great way to use a foam roller more often is to educate yourself on the benefits of foam rolling. Read up on what myofascial trigger points and myofacial release are.
It’s one thing to read a article about the benefits of foam rolling. It’s another thing to completely educate yourself on the mechanisms of how pain is developed through these trigger points. The more you read about how foam rolling can help with pain and general health, the more you believe in the validity of foam rolling. The more you realize how good it is for your body the more you want to do it. The goal is to basically educate yourself to develop a mindset change of how our muscles really operate, and how our muscle is the bodies biggest, least cared about, and most misunderstood organ. And the ultimate goal of education is how you can use a muscle roller massage tool like the foam roller to keep your muscles and body healthy.
We had several guides here at muscle foam roller that you can browse to gain a better understanding of many subjects. You can learn how foam rolling benefits your body and other aspects related to the science behind myofascial trigger points and muscular health.