It seems like every gym & athlete owns a foam roller…. Even the target dollar section sells foam rollers! But what does foam rolling really do and will it really improve your flexibility and decrease soreness after a workout?
Recent research has shown that foam rolling can be helpful in multiple ways if performed appropriately.
- Reduced pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Acutely increases range of motion when performed for a longer duration of time (30-60 seconds)
- Reduces muscle tender spots
- Improves neuromuscular efficiency after foam rolling which can improve athletic performance
- Foam rolling after static stretching seems to improve flexibility to a greater degree than stretching alone
To summarize, recent evidence seems to point to the idea that longer durations of foam rolling (30-60 seconds, 2-3x per muscle group) performed after static stretching (2 sets of 30 seconds per day per muscle group) performed 5-6 days a week may be the best way to improve flexibility.2 Let us know if you try this out!
- Behm, D. ECSS 2017
- Thomas et al 2018
Recently, an updated version of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Although we often hear of the benefits of exercise from various sources, here is what the most recent research recommends:
- To see significant health benefits, engage in at least 150 minutes – 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 min – 150 min of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. This should preferably be spread throughout your week
- Exercising beyond 300 minutes (5 hours) per week provided additional health benefits!
- Strength training that involving major muscle groups should be performed 2 times per week
For Children (ages 6-17):1
- 1 hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily is recommended
- Most of the 60 minutes should be aerobic exercises on at least 3 days per week
- Muscle strengthening as part of the 60 minutes, 3 days per week
- Bone strengthening (or weight bearing) exercises as part of the 60 minutes, 3 days per week
Some of the numerous overall health benefits to adhering to these guidelines include:
- Lower risk of mortality overall
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type II diabetes, dementia & multiple forms of cancer
- Improved cognition, quality of life, sleep, bone health
- Lower risk of falls in older adults
- Decreased anxiety & reduced risk of depression
- Weight loss
- Maintain strength & range of motion in joints2
- Provide pain relief & improvement in function in those with orthopedic conditions2
If you are interested in reading the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines, check out the link below & feel free to reach out to us with any questions!
- Current Concepts of Orthopedic Physical Therapy, 4th