We all know that stretching is an important part of any exercise routine. Flexibility is important because it allows us to increase our range of motion for a movement while creating less injuries and decreasing sources of pain in the body. I have had many clients, especially those 50+ who complain of back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, etc. Most of the time it's due to a lack of flexibility and an increase in tightness in their body.
Although there are many types of flexibility training, one that I recommend to just about everyone is Self-Myofascial Release with a foam roller. SMR helps breakdown the fibrous tissues called fascia in the body. I like to think of fascia as the layer on top of the muscle that I need my clients to breakdown. If the fascia is tight or tender due to stress or trauma the body has endured then it puts pressure on the joints and it becomes harder to stretch the muscles lying underneath it. In order to loosen the fascia we need to give it some light to moderate pressure and allow it to release which makes the body to become more mobile. This therefore increases flexibility and range of motion all while decreasing pain.
SMR is simple and easy to do with a foam roller. You can purchase one at any sports store or buy it from Amazon for about $25. I usually recommend this size and density. The pictures below show the best uses for this piece of equipment. These exercises can be done before and/or after your workout as well as every day or every other day. You'll see your body getting lower in a squat. You'll feel less pain in your back and knees. The best part is you'll start to feel like you're moving with better ease. Although the body will feel tender at first and it may be a harder adjustment for those that are very tight, I promise it will make your body much more efficient in your daily activities. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please feel free to contact me on my facebook page at e Motion (The Dance and Fitness Studio for Adults).