It doesn't matter if you work out every day, or if you are a weekend warrior: Odds are, at some point you have ended up with tight, sore muscles. So it is important to master the art of self-massage.
Sometimes it's neither practical nor economical to get yourself to a spa and spend an hour and a chunk of change getting a massage. But by keeping a few simple tools around the house, you can give yourself some amount of relief and actually end up with a host of benefits: more energy, more restful sleep and better workouts with quicker recovery time.
We'll skip over the portable massagers that you can purchase out of magazines and on late-night infomercials. Those are adequate but unlikely to delivery more than the most brief, superficial relief. Here's what you want:
- Foam Roll: it is what it sounds like: a three- or four-foot long, cylindrical piece of foam core. The idea is to get on the floor (Your bed won't provide a hard enough surface) and place the roll between yourself and the floor. Then proceed to roll out the tension of all your muscle groups. This technique is called "direct myofascial release," and it provides for the release of muscle tension and improved circulation to the tight muscles. Note: Depending on how much tension you have, this technique may be shockingly painful at the outset. The more often you do it, the sooner it will be less painful. You can find the rolls at Perform Better
You can take advantage of self-massage whenever you feel the need. Pre- or post-workout, pre-bedtime, when you wake up in the morning. There is no harm in getting rid of that tension. The most important thing to remember is to relax as much as possible while you do it. If you feel yourself tensing because of pain in a particular area, focus your attention on your breath and try to let your body go as limp as possible.
If you have ideas for self-massage, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And come and join us on Facebook for daily tips and ideas.
For more by Michael Feigin, M.S., C.S.C.S., click here.
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