Surviving freshman year of college cramped up in a lofted triple would have been much less enjoyable without a foam roller. My foam roller is always at the top of every packing list, and I even jumped into a reservoir to rescue it during a particularly windy cross-country workout.
What the heck is a foam roller? A foam roller is a cylinder shaped piece of styrofoam that can be used to stretch and roll out tight muscles. Foam rollers come in different levels of firmness which are generally recognizable by their colors: white (softest), blue (in-between), and black (firmest). I currently use the black color, but started with white and built up to black. The colors are not necessarily levels to move up, but are catered to individual needs.
Foam rollers are available in many different lengths. They can be easily found for purchase online, and most gyms and athletic training rooms will have them handy. Before college I got a small one (top right) so that I could fit it in my dorm room, and travel with it.
Having a foam roller is the next best thing to having a pocket sized sports massage therapist to carry around with you- maybe even better as you don’t have to keep paying it. Foam rollers also help improve flexibility, and prevent injury.
- Make sure that you consult your school’s athletic trainer or a similarly knowledgeable person about exercises for a specific issue. It is important to be especially careful with rolling out your back, and you should NEVER roll out your knees or elbows (just don’t).
- Foam rolling hurts (especially at first) but even if it makes you want to grind your teeth and scream, this should be “good pain” (similar to getting an aggressive massage). If you ever feel “bad pain” -like something is really wrong, stop immediately.
***Here is a link to some tips and an instructional video about foam rolling by people who really know what they are doing.***
Foam rolling has helped me maintain a healthy, active lifestyle without suffering too many consequences of long runs and long hours spent hunched over my computer (studying of course) Sure, you may get awkward stares when the people around you first notice your shiny new foam roller, but before long everyone will be begging to use it.
Miriam S has 6 post(s) on RTR On Campus