So here is what you know.
You know you should stretch.
You know you should roll.
But really - you aren't sure why.
Well let me try to clear up a little bit of why I think it is so important to include in your weekly routine.
First of all, the research on this topic is a bit murky and underdone.
What is becoming increasingly clear, is SMFR (Self Myofascial Release) can help use move and feel better.
So, have you ever hear of fascia?
It is everywhere in our bodies. Super clever stuff.
Under your skin, encasing your body and webbing its way through your insides like spider webs, is fascia.
Fascia is made up primarily of densely packed collagen fibers that create a full body system of sheets, chords and bags that wrap, divide and permeate every one of your muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels and organs. You're protected by fascia and connected by fascia.
It wraps around each of your individual internal parts, keeping them separate and allowing them to slide easily with your movements. It's strong, slippery and wet. It is almost like the lubricant that allows our muscles to move.
In its healthy state it's smooth and supple and slides easily, allowing you to move and stretch to your full length in any direction, always returning back to its normal state. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely that your fascia maintains its optimal flexibility, shape or texture.
When you exercise your muscles experience micro-trauma and as such, so does your fascia.
What we want to do, is promote healing of that trauma, so we can move well.
Foam rolling and trigger pointing, is a tool for self-myofascial release (SMFR). This is a techniques are commonly used for promoting soft-tissue healing increasing flexibility, reducing soreness, and targeting muscle knots.
So what we aim to to with our foam rollers and trigger balls is increase the pliability of restricted area's in the fascia and our muscles, that may have become a little tighter after increased use, or lack of use (think about the sore spots after a day full of sitting).
Some research has shown that by using techniques such as foam rolling prior to stretching, can increase range of motion, and decrease the length of time you experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
And this is why - I think our release classes are so so important!
By improving blood flow to our muscles and fascia, increasing our range of motion, reducing the time we experience DOMS and simply relaxing after a tough workoutwe are able to perform our pilates and more importantly, our daily tasks just that little bit more efficiently.
So, when was the last time you clicked "Release" when looking for your daily class?