(NEW YORK) — If you made a New Year’s resolution to exercise consistently, you should have also made one to recover consistently, experts say.How your body recovers after a workout can mean the difference when it comes to how long you can keep your fitness resolution and how well your body will handle that resolution. Enter, foam rolling.”Foam rolling is really about just ironing out the kinks,” said Lauren Roxburgh, a California-based wellness educator. “Think of a rolling pin and you’re going to take that rolling pin and roll out the dough and you’re massaging away that thickness, density, even the toxins that get stuck in our lymph system as well. You’re flushing out the congestion and then you’re allowing the musculature to come back to the surface.” Roxburgh, also certified in structural integration and classical Pilates, has been preaching, and practicing, the benefits of using a foam roller for the past 20 years, earning the name “the body whisperer” for her work using the foam roller to help clients recover and heal. She praises the foam roller for not only its ability to help you stretch after a workout, but also for how it can be used to help your body realign after sitting at the office all day. It can target muscles that are usually hard to reach, especially as we age.”I like to call [a foam roller] your own in-home private masseuse but also a personal trainer as well,” said Roxburgh, a mom of two. “Because you can use it for self-massage, for physical therapy but you can also use it to do amazing Pilates and yoga-based moves to really build that beautiful, elegant, elongated figure.””It’s such an easy and effective tool that you can use for five minutes a day, up to one hour a day,” she added. Roxburgh recommends using a 36-inch long foam roller, one that you can lay your entire spine on. There are also shorter models available that are great for travel. Here is a five-move foam rolling routine from Roxburgh, author of The Power Source, to get you started:Move No. 1: Upper back rollThis moves away the density in the upper back, rolls away the tension off your shoulders, creates space in your upper vertebrae and realigns the neck.Take your roller long-way and put it right on your bra line, on your upper, middle back. Bring your feet hip-width distance apart and lift your hips up. Keep your elbows nice and wide. Draw your elbows together as you roll to the tops of your shoulder blades. Inhale as you take your elbows wide and exhale as you bring them together. Do about 8 to 10 reps. Move No. 2: Diaphragm releaseThis is going to help open up and expand your lungs and also help you improve posture.Feet are pressing down again, hip-width apart. Hands are still behind the head to support your neck. Inhale as you arch back, decompressing those vertebrae. Exhale as you curl up. Move No. 3: Hamstring rollMake sure your chest is open and your posture is upright while doing this move.Position the foam roller right below your sit-bone. Roll to right above the knee joint, making sure your chest is open and your posture is upright. Point your toes as you roll out and flex your toes as you roll back in toward your body. That adds traction so you’re stretching as you’re rolling and hydrating the tissue. Move No. 4: Inverted sacral rollIf you sit a lot at your job, this is a phenomenal way to decompress all the compression that happens and massage your lower back.Lay all the way down on your back and place the foam roller underneath your hips. Position the foam roller right underneath your sacrum, which is right above your tailbone in the lowest part of your back. Hold the ends of the foam roller with each hand so it does not slip out. Then, bring your right knee up and your left knee up so you’re in a mini-inversion. As you inhale, sway both knees to the right. Keep your upper body anchored to the mat. As you exhale, bring your knees back to center. Repeat on the other side. Move No. 5: Snow angelsYou’ll feel an inch taller after this move.Take your roller long-way and lay on it, with your bottom right in the middle and your tailbone at the front edge. Slowly use your arms to lay on the foam roller. Make sure you are in a neutral spine position. A little, tiny curve in the lower back is a good thing. Place your arms out to the side with palms facing up. Inhale as you reach your arms up over your head. You can do a little rock side to side in this position to massage the upper-middle back. Then exhale as you bring your arms back down. And repeat.
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