After talking with a few athletes recently I thought it would be good to revisit this article on foam rolling again. I can’t stress enough how much of a difference it makes on flexibility, muscle function, and injury prevention for endurance athletes. The repetitive nature of endurance sports makes the formation of muscle adhesions and trigger points is almost a given. I think I have heard all the excuses but really it’s not that hard to do, it’s not that painful, and it only takes about 10 minutes (don’t tell me you don’t have time then go on about the latest Real Housewives of Orange County!). Use it! You will notice a difference after a few weeks!
I recently ran across two studies that showed very positive benefits to trigger point therapy (i.e. foam rolling or specific trigger point massage). A study by Takamoto et al. in 2009 showed increased parasympathetic nervous activity (the part of the nervous system primarily responsible for recovery) after trigger point therapy. Another study by Delaney et al. in 2002* showed that just 20 minutes of total myofascial release (i.e. foam rolling or trigger point massage) resulted in increased heart rate variability, decreased muscle tension, decreased heart rate, and increased sense of well-being. Basically foam rolling can improve your recovery, muscle function, prevent overuse injuries, and make you more attractive to the opposite sex…OK, maybe not that last one but it won’t hurt.