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Your New Year’s resolutions to get active may be taking their toll on your muscles, but don’t let the aches and pains deter you from continuing your workouts. There are great products out there that deal with muscle recovery and help you achieve your fitness goals.
Foam rollers are often used to help with self-myofascial release (SMR), a technique that allows for massage of the connective tissue that can become knotted, painful or inflamed. Using a foam roller is one of the easiest ways to avoid muscle pain and injury. According to a 2015 study, foam rolling either before or after an intense workout can help alleviate muscle tightness, and reduces delayed onset muscle soreness that can occur up to 72 hours after exercising. In fact, using a foam roller can actually improve range of motion and flexibility, making them ideal for athletes and yogis alike.
Foam rollers can be useful even if you’re not in pain. One 2015 study found that SMR can help manage painful symptoms in people living with fibromyalgia when performed on a consistent basis. Using a foam roller for SMR works best on large muscle groups, like legs, calves, quads, as well as the upper and lower back.
Preventative care of your muscles through stretching and SMR can also help avoid costly massages, treatments and save time on visits to your doctor.
You can purchase foam rollers and foam rolling kits on Amazon.
The bestselling foam roller comes from Amazon Basics, and retails for under $20. With more than 5,500 positive reviews, this high-density roller delivers firm support, which may not be suitable for those looking for a softer surface.
“My chiropractor told me to get one. Now I’m telling everyone else to do the same. I use this roller every night for a minute or two,” one shopper wrote. “It loosens up my back muscles before bed and helps maintain what my chiropractor has been working on....Don’t buy the high-priced rollers...This roller is perfect.”
“I have always wanted to try foam rolling and I'm glad I did,” added another. “I can see a significant difference in my range of motion and flexibility since I started foam rolling. In particular, I foam roll before and after a heavy leg day and my squat depth is improving.”
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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.