HOW DOES IT WORK?
Just like a massage. Applying gentle pressure to adhesions in muscles and tendons increases blood flow, restoring muscle function. Also called trigger points, these “knots,” or tender areas originate from muscle fibers that are in a bundled position. The resulting loss of range of motion in the joint and the associated muscles can cause pain and discomfort.
WHAT CAUSES MUSCLE TIGHTNESS?
- Using the computer, sitting for prolonged periods of time
- Lifting or loading objects repetitively on the job or other repetitive movements
- Sports such as cycling and running
- Weight lifting, using the same exercises over and over or lifting very heavy loads using a limited range of motion
- Poor posture
- Old injuries
EMBRACE FLEXIBILITY AND MUSCLE BALANCE TO REDUCE INJURY
Flexibility is one of the most underrated aspects of having a balanced, healthy body. We assume that if we can function in our daily lives, we must be flexible enough. But if you have ever experienced conditions such as low back pain, joint injuries, or tendonitis, your body may be overcompensating for tight, stressed muscles that can’t function properly.
Unless you do some kind of flexibility training on a regular basis, repetitive movements and prolonged inactivity can, over time, cause all kinds of problems in your body. Shortened, tight muscles cause limited range of motion, and when a primary muscle can’t move properly, other muscles must work harder to support it. In the short term, this means muscle tension, fatigue, and limited range of motion. Over time this translates into muscle and joint dysfunction – muscle imbalances, inflammation, and injuries and pain in your body.
For example, if your hip flexors are tight from sitting all day, other muscles will overcompensate in your day-to-day movements or at the gym. Because your hip flexors are tight and not moving at a full range of motion, your hamstrings, abductors, and back muscles all take the brunt of movements meant for the hip flexors. When these muscles move in dysfunctional patterns over the long term or cannot move in their full range of motion, injuries can result.
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE W/FOAM ROLL
Foam rollers are six-inch wide foam logs that you use your own body weight against to work out knots in tender muscles. If you have ever used one, especially on your IT band (muscle along outer leg), you know that it can be slightly painful at first. After a short time, however, foam rolling feels
Use myofascial release - foam rolling - before static stretching (or any other activity) and as a cool down. By gently applying pressure to tender spots
on your body, you release knots in the muscle fibers and realign them in the right direction so that your range of motion can return.