Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sent from Heaven: Foam Rollers & Lacrosse Balls

As an athlete, sore leg (and entire body) muscles are something that I'm no stranger to. I remember the first few days of high school every year were excruciating because it was smack in the middle of soccer pre-season, and my school had a lot of stairs. So many memories of not being able to move... >_>

When I got to college, being an athlete meant I got access to our awesome training room. I was never really in the training room because I was never hurt, but once my knees started to really bother me my junior year, I knew I'd better get it checked before I injured myself and ruined my season. The trainer just told me that my quads were tight (wouldn't have guessed that) and showed me a few different stretches to relieve the pain. She also introduced me to what I now believe is God's gift to leg muscles - the foam roller.

If you've never used one of these things, you've really got to try it. If I'm being honest, I'm pretty terrible about stretching... ever. My muscles are constantly tight, I have knots all over my body, and I definitely can't touch my toes.

I know. It's disgraceful.

But as soon as I rolled out my legs on this contraption for the first time, I was hooked. I'm not going to lie, it definitely hurts while you're doing it. You're essentially forcing knots out of your legs that aren't ready to leave by using all of your body weight. But as soon as you stand up off of the ground and shake your legs out a little bit, you feel like a million bucks. You're muscles are loose, you can stretch a little bit further, and (the best part) you can run a little bit faster! Awesome.

When my senior season of lacrosse wrapped up, so did my opportunity to use the foam rollers in the training room. I went almost a whole year without rolling my legs out, and I definitely felt the difference. My legs felt heavier and I was significantly less flexible than I was during lacrosse season. A few days ago, though, the stars aligned and I wound up with a foam roller of my very own in my apartment. With my first half only 4 days away (WHAT?!), it couldn't have been better timing!

For those of you who may be intimidated by this large, foamy miracle, lacrosse balls work just as good for un-knotting muscles in your body. Since it's smaller, it will (obviously) only help smaller areas of your body at any one time. The plus side, though, is that it's portable and hand held, so you can take one wherever you go. You better believe I'll have a few of these in my bag come race day!

One of my favorite things to do, especially after a long run or a long day of work, is roll a couple of lacrosse balls under my feet. Bam - instant foot massage! I also use them to target more problem knots. The muscles around my knees tend to carry a lot of the stress caused by running, so taking one of these and really focusing on getting one knot out is super helpful. However, since lacrosse balls are made of hard rubber, they might cause bruising, so be careful!


In other news, like I mentioned before, Louie and I are running our first half marathon this upcoming Sunday! I'm sure Louie and I will be updating the blog like crazy next week, but I'm planning on live Tweeting/Instagramming/Vine-ing the expo on Saturday and the race on Sunday, so make sure you're following me!

Twitter: @rmfickfack
Instagram: rmfickfack
Vine: rmfickfack

See you guys on the other side!

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