What’s the main thing we all have after a good workout? Well, other than sweat- soaked clothes. Tight muscles! Early on when I started working out on the regular, I got accustomed to that day-after-tight-muscle feeling. I thought it was a part of the muscle building process.
It wasn’t until I started getting deep tissue massages, I learned about fascia and the role it plays in muscle tightness.
So what is fascia?
A fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. According to Schuenke’s The Human Body, the function of muscle fascia is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force. In doing so, fasciae (plural):
- Provides a sliding and gliding environment for muscles
- Suspends organs in their proper place
- Transmits movement from muscle to the bones they are attached to
- Provide a supportive and movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles
So now that we know what fascia is. How do we keep it and our muscles nice and loose? Well, I recommend you finding a good massage therapist. As much as I love going to Infinite Possibilities Massages, I can’t afford to go every week. So I had to come up with a more economical solution. And for me that was investing in two products: a foam roller and The Stick.
A foam roller is going to applies pressure to the muscle area you “roll” the foam apparatus over. The deeper and slower the pass (roll) the more your muscle will be penetrated. I’m not going to lie, the foam roller does not feel good to me. BUT it prevents me from having horrible muscle soreness. So when it comes to using the foam roller, I just have to suck it up and use the old saying “No pain. No gain.” Here are a few pics of how I use the foam roller.
The only way I can describe this contraption is it is a row of large cylindrical plastic tubular beads on a sturdy rod with a handle on both ends. I know…I was never good at the game Taboo. The Stick comes in different sizes and levels of pliability. The firmer it is the less resistance it gives. I have the Marathon Stick. You use it by rolling it on the targeted muscle area. Here are few pics of how I use The Stick.
One thing I like about The Stick is I can apply more pressure to an area, whereas the foam roller’s intensity is based on your body weight. The Stick creates a more controlled environment.
All in all, I love both items. I call them my toys.
So what do you think? I’d like to read your thoughts. What do you do to prevent tight muscles? Was this your first time reading about fascia? The more feedback I get the more I grow as a blogger. So fire away. Let me know what you think.
Love, Peace, and Sweat,
Monisha Randolph is the author of Runner’s Revelations: How Running Changed My Walk. To learn more about Monisha or to purchase a copy of her book please visit www.runnersrevelations.com. Feel free to follow her on Twitter and join her Fan Community on Facebook.