The temperature drops, it’s cold, your body tightens, your shoulders creep up to your ears, your hips tighten, your breath shallows. This is what happens to my body and I assume I’m not alone.
One thing that I love to do all year round, but particularly in the wintertime, is foam rolling. Unless you’ve gone out of your way to foster a delicious relationship with this item, you’ve probably avoided it at all costs. Many describe the experience as excruciatingly painful. I was one of those people but stuck with it. Now I love that hurts-so-good feeling and have moved on to the rumble roller (which I can’t say enough about).
Here’s the rundown:
Myofascial release: fascia is a complex web of soft connective tissue located just below your skin. Muscle and fascia make up the myofascia system. This system can become tight for a variety of reasons and what you’re left with is pain, tightness and a restricted range of motion.
Foam roller: a very dense foam cylinder that can be used to massage the body, particularly on areas of tightness and on trigger points.
Put them both together: using a foam roller to roll out your fascia is just like getting a massage. What happens is this: imagine a sponge. Now imagine ringing it out so much that it becomes completely flat. When you add water, the sponge becomes thick and spongey again. That’s what foam rolling does. It compresses the fascia and rehydrates this connective tissue.
There are lots of ways to use a foam roller (disclaimer: if you have injuries or any concerns about engaging in this practice, you should consult with the appropriate professionals before doing anything). But if you’re ready and willing to give it a go, you can find a plethora of exercises on the internet. Also, Sue Hitzmann created the MELT Method® that can help guide you.
Consider it. And if not with foam rolling, find a way to open your body and joints during this cold weather. You can even take this moment, right now, to allow your shoulder blades to melt down your back, breathe deeply into your lungs, fill them with oxygen from the bottom, up and breathe out in one slow and controlled breath. Let go. Now repeat.