I'd been thinking about getting a foam roller for quite some time. What is a foam roller? It's pretty much what it sounds like - a piece of foam in a cylindrical shape. You can use it to do various exercises that roll it over your muscles, and you get some of the same benefits from it as you would get from a massage. They're suppose to improve circulation, release muscle knots and tightness, and improve muscle recovery after workouts.
Since muscle tightness seems to be a regular thing for me anymore (even with stretching at the end of every single workout and dedicating one day a week to just yoga and stretching exercises), the foam roller seemed like it was exactly what I needed. While shopping at Meijer the other day, I wandered over to the fitness section of the store just to see what they had. Lo and behold, they had a foam roller for $20, so I grabbed it.
When I got home, I was disappointed to find that the roller didn't come with any sort of instructions on how to use it, however, it was easy enough to find "how to use your foam roller" videos on Youtube. After my regular workout, I anxiously loaded up one of the videos and started following along.
Within about two minutes, I was wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. Not only did I need to contort my body into uncomfortable positions in order to get the roller where it needed to go, but using the darned thing HURT. It's the a good thing I was the only one home at the time, though I think I scared the pets with my constant shouts of "OW OW OW!" I guess that meant I was really in need of a foam rolling. A few of the exercises actually felt good - the ones on the back of my legs - but the rest? I'm dreading the thought of doing them again.
On the plus side, I felt pretty good when it was over. My muscles were extremely relaxed, and I slept GREAT that night, which I desperately needed. I've read that some people do foam rolling every single day, but I think I'm going to stick with once or twice a week for now.