Have you every had to compete after a session at the gym, or had an intense dressage session, and then need to head to the gallops the next day, or even just get out of bed, ready to face the day. Muscles soreness from exercise (DOMS) can be a killer, making even the simplest tasks like getting out of bed, sitting on the toilet and walking up the 5 stairs at work, a complete nightmare. But what if you could reduce those days, enabling you to train more frequently and more effectively!! Every time we train we fatigue our muscles and other elements of our body, making them weaker for a short period of time. Ideally we want them to have recovered and feel stronger before we next train, and recovery is the key ingredient.
Foam rolling has been around for quite a few years, but has spread massively, from being used by professional athletes and rehab patients, to anyone who is active. But what is it, and why is it so popular?
Rolling is a form of myofascial release, helping to release trigger points and areas of muscles that are tight, due to a range of reasons - every day life, exercise, posture, weaknesses, nutrition, flexibility, lifestyle and hydration to name a few. It can be a little painful, but unlike deep tissue massage, you are in full control, allowing you to decide where is best to roll, and what pressure you can bear. It doesn't replace regular sports massage, but it helps keep you in tip top shape between sessions.
So why would you inflict pain on yourself? Simple, it has so many benefits
- It reestablishes full range of movement in a muscle
- To become pain free
- It aids recovery
- It enhances performance
- It flushes out toxins as you increase blood flow to areas you roll
But surely you could just stretch? You could, but it is not as effective for a few reasons - firstly the body has over stretching mechanisms within the body, that can reduce the efficiency of stretching, and secondly, not all muscles are easy to stretch at the right angle. Foam rolling works by compressing the muscles, causing the trigger points to break up as the adhesions between muscle layers are released.
Where to start.
Firstly you need a foam roller. There are a multitude available nowadays, from simple foam rollers to bumpy ones etc. My favourite is The Grid (made by trigger point). It maybe a little bit more expensive, BUT it has lasted years, with a fair amount of rolling on it. It has the right sort of bumps, that give enough pressure, but not too much, and it is hollow, allowing you to grip hold of it during certain rolling techniques. However there are plenty of others on the market. I regularly suggest others to clients, by simply going on to Amazon, typing in foam roller, and seeing which has the best review at the price I wish to pay. You can easily pick up an excellent one for around £15, and believe me it is worth every penny.
You can roll pretty much most muscles, but be careful around joints and the lower back. Rolling uses body weight to get into the muscle, so you can control the pressure by simply controlling how much body weight you place on the roller and what speed you roll - the slower the more painful, ideally pausing and doing small movements around trigger points.
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Today has been a day full of the girls teasing out their recorders, screaming with laughter, practising their singing at the top of their voices and wanting to jump all over me. Sounds like an idyllic Sunday afternoon? Yes, normally, but when I had just arrived back from hen do, lacking a little sleep and maybe a glass or 2 too many of the fizz, then I needed a way to get back on form quick. So I thought I would share some of the most natural ways to get a quick pick up, replenish nutrients, rehydrate and remove those alcohol toxins
Before nodding off
2 sneaky little tips to help you feel better in the morning are to add an extra pillow before you sleep and try adding some lemon to hot water before nodding off. Why? The pillow helps your circulation and drainage during the night, helping to stop the puffy eyes and cheeks in the morning. The hot lemon water acts as a natural laxative, which will get the bowel moving, helping to remove the alcohol toxins
Try this little smoothie -
- almond milk - nuts are a great source of Vitamin B2. B vitamins are part of the water soluble vitamin group, so if you are dehydrated from your night on the booze, your vitamin B levels could be depleted, adding to your tiredness and general feeling of rubbishness
- a pinch of turmeric - helps protect the liver as well as being a powerful anti inflammatory
- 1/2tsp of honey - amazingly, honey helps to breakdown naturally the alcohol quicker, making it easier to remove
- a pinch of ginger - relaxes your colon muscles and soothes your gut, which will help reduce wind and bloating and also aid toxin removal
- 1 banana - a great source of potassium, which is a highly effective diuretic, helping you to rehydrate
- ice - cools and adds more fluid to the mix
For your meals
try adding plenty of leafy green veg and other green vegetables. Both are good sources of B vitamins and also magnesium. Some hangover symptoms are believed to be due to magnesium depletion from the night on the beer, wine, spirits etc. So getting those levels back up will help to alleviate your symptoms.
Now, back to my day off high pitched squeals, and other head vibrating noises. Is it me, or do my kids seem to be extra loud today? Hmmmm, just wondering if Mr J has given them extra pocket money today to make my head vibrate more ;-)