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When it comes to exercise, what you do in recovery mode is just as important as what you do in workout mode. The foam roller is one of the most simple and popular tools used to aid muscle recovery, but it must be used correctly to be effective. 
 
A foam roller is a tool for self-massage that you can do almost anywhere and helps in between massage therapy sessions
 
Using a foam roller can help alleviate muscle tenderness by releasing myofascial build up; essentially, adhesions in your muscles and connective tissue. 
 
By applying pressure to pinpointed spots on muscles, tendons and ligaments, foam rolling can loosen tight soft tissue and can improve blood flow. This stimulates your muscles for optimal recovery and performance and gives your bones a better support system. 
 
While foam rolling offers numerous benefits to alleviate soreness and improve flexibility, if done incorrectly, you can actually do more harm than good. So you need to be careful! 

The Do’s and Don’ts of foam rolling 

The Do’s 
 
Make foam rolling a priority after exercise, just as you should stretching, nutrition and hydration. 
Foam rolling alone is not an effective recovery tool after intense aerobic exercise, and doing it for just a few seconds won’t help. Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes foam rolling after stretching as part of your cool-down routine. 
Talk to a professional, licensed personal trainer or physical therapist if you’re unsure about proper techniques for foam rolling. 
 
The Don’ts 
 
Don’t go too fast. Rolling quickly back and forth over a foam roller is not only ineffective, it can be harmful. Make sure you’re rolling slowly enough to give the affected muscle areas time to relax and adapt to the compression. If one spot feels particularly sore, use shorter, slower rolls over that area. 
Don’t go too slow. On the contrary, you don’t want to roll too slowly, either. Placing pressure on a sore spot for too long can cause nerve damage or harm the tissue. If you have a tender area that is not relieved by proper foam roll use, consult a professional for further treatment. 
Don’t forget about your posture. As you’re rolling face-down to get the front of your legs, or rolling on one side to massage your iliotibial (IT) band, be mindful of your posture and keep a neutral spine. 
 
Of course, there are many muscle problems that will need some expert handling so please do book a massage appointment near you if you have a reoccurring or new issue that you’re worried about. We’ll be more than happy to help, and we can suggest foam roller exercises to help you, too. 
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