Foam rolling is a form of self-massage that alleviates tightness and trigger points (aka muscle knots) by using your body’s weight against a foam roller. The benefits are many.

 

 

BENEFITS OF FOAM ROLLING:
  • Increases blood flow and elasticity of muscle tissue, joints, and fascia, the body’s connective tissue, which helps with mobility and overall well-being.
  • Reduces inflammation that occurs during the muscle repair process.
  • Helps injury prevention by maintaining muscle length and alleviating tension and tightness.
  • Releases tension promoting relaxation.
FOAM ROLLING PRO-TIP: 

Click to view the video. If you are new to the Aging Strong Pilates Facebook Community, you will have to join the group to see the video.

For all the moves, you’ll want to stop wherever it feels tight or tender. Breathe allowing the pressure and stillness to create a release. You’ll note the benefit immediately. When you experience that release, inhale, and then as you exhale, slowly roll your way to another tight spot and repeat.

DEMONSTRATIONS:

Want to see some demonstrations of key roller exercises? Watch the video on our Aging Strong Pilates private FB page where I demonstrate effective techniques to melt away your stress and your knots. You can also ask your questions there. I moderate daily.

 

HOW ELSE CAN YOU USE THE ROLLER?

The foam roller is not just for relieving knots and tension. It can also be used to increase the challenge to certain muscles and improve your postural stabilizers which are important for balance.

Imagine lying on your back with bent knees, the soles of your feet on a roller that’s perpendicular to your body.  Doing bridging this way increases the challenge to the muscles in the back of your legs because your feet are on an unstable surface that, without adequate hamstring firing, will roll away from you.

Here’s another scenario:

Lying vertically on the roller with your head to your buttocks supported by the roller- similar to the photo on top, knees bent, feet and fingertips on the floor.  Challenge your postural stabilizers by marching in place – lifting and lowering one bent knee. Notice how your balance systems kick into high gear to keep you from falling off the roller.

YOUTUBE FOR ROLLER AND MORE

My Youtube channel “BoneSmart Pilates” has many free videos that support your movement practice. Check out this one which includes 6 Great Foam Roller Exercises to Start Your Day!

 

America is growing increasingly sedentary.  85% of our adult population is insufficiently active, meaning they’re not meeting even the minimum recommended requirements of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This may surprise some readers because at times it can seem as if health has gotten trendy in the U.S.  We’re inundated with fitness influencers sharing social media content, the latest trendy workout gear, and TV ads pitching healthy products. But while these factors can have a positive influence for some it’s not making the intended impact to the greater community.

 

In 2018 the Physical Activity Guidelines were revised and updated based on new scientific evidence.

2 key changes were made that’s great news for us all.

The first change was the directive to Move More and Sit Less. Evidence proved the health consequences of prolonged uninterrupted sitting cause a cascade of health problems.

The second big change included dropping the 10-minute bout rule. Previous to the update, exercise didn’t “count” unless you accumulated at least 10 minutes of moderate activity at one time.  Even trackers like the FitBit did not register activity in smaller bouts.  The good news is that newer models now honor and give credit for shorter than 10 min bouts.  I was even able to add an update to my Fitbit Charge 3 to include this new feature.

Why have we gotten so sedentary?

This ongoing health crisis is largely to blame. Health writer Jamie Ducharme details in an article on the impact of the pandemic how Americans are now sitting more and moving less rather than moving more and sitting less. Cambridge Open Engage found a 32% decrease in physical activity ever since social distancing measures were implemented. Sitting a lot more, in particular, are work-from-homers — office workers and professionals who are now working at home due to stay-at-home directives.

 

Time to Move More, Sit Less

Integrating core work at your desk

There are a lot of ways to start working toward a lifestyle in which you move more and sit less. If you work at a desk — particularly if it’s at home — you might consider investing in a standing desk, described by Pain Free Working as an ergonomic innovation designed to let you switch between sitting down and standing up.  The standing desk is a stand-alone piece of equipment that allows you to adjust the desk height and customize it so you’ll be comfortable

You might also consider alternating between a physioball and a chair to encourage more movement. A physioball, because of its inherent instability, invites subtle often unconscious movements to stabilize your spine and keep you upright. I’ve created a short video showing you a few things you can do while seated on a ball at your desk.

You might implement a habit to get up and move around for 3 minutes at the top of every hour. Though it may seem like a small step, evidence shows that interrupting your bouts of sitting decreases the negative effects of being sedentary including your risk of mortality.

Walk More

More broadly, in your day-to-day life, you can make exercise more of a priority. If you’re not used to it, we at BoneSmart Pilates suggest you start with the art of walking — just one step at a time, progressing gradually until walks become part of your routine.  As a former professional dancer, I used to think that walking wasn’t really “exercise”.

I certainly know better now and with my pandemic puppy “Chip”, walking and sometimes eager sprints to get to the park, are a regular part of my daily routine!  If you’re familiar with physical activity but struggle to find time for it these days, consider “Habit Integration”.  This is a technique I created that I shared in my virtual workshop Life Hacks to Move More Sit Less. Habit Integration helps you seamlessly weave habits you currently do with desired movement habits so your new desired habit is cued by your “I always do this” habit.  For instance, while I’m taking a shower I’ll do a corner pec stretch to open up the front of my shoulders and help me hunch less. You’ll find yourself moving more automatically.

 

Physical activity recommendations

The revised Physical Activity Guidelines of 2018 recommends the following:

For adults

• Do at least 150−300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity exercise to get substantial health benefits.
• Do more than 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity for additional health benefits.
• Do muscle-strengthening exercises on 2 or more days a week for additional health benefits (stronger bones, increased strength).

For older adults

• Include balance, aerobic, and muscle-strengthening activities weekly.
• Be as physically active as your condition will allow.
• Exert as much effort as your condition will allow.

 

Once you apply some of the habit-forming strategies shared in the Move More, Sit Less workshop, you’ll notice positive effects with how you feel, physically and mentally. The more you can incorporate this simple “move more, sit less” mantra into your life, the healthier you’ll become.

Quotes for Motivation

If you need a little nudge to get you started, I encourage you to consider the following inspirational quotes in support of more movement.

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”                                                         -Mahatma Gandhi

Much of our sedentary lifestyle can be chalked up to the need to work. Our world is a very competitive one, and we can trick ourselves into thinking that each minute not spent at the computer means a minute that we’re falling behind. Gandhi’s quote is a reminder, however, that there are truly more important things — namely, health and wellness — rather than the pursuit of material wealth.

“Exercise should be regarded as a tribute to the heart.” – Gene Tunney

What a lovely little way to think about the effort to move more. The quote reminds us to consider exercise in a deeper manner, rather than as an inconvenience or obligation.

“You are the architect of your life.  It’s never too late.  Start now.” -Teresa Maldonado Marchok

Avoid thinking you can’t start fresh.  Old dogs can indeed learn new tricks.  Movement enhances life at every single point in our life cycle.

 

If you’d like to learn more about “Life Hacks to Move More and Sit Less” which is available for on-demand viewing, click here.

 

Written by Teresa Maldonado Marchok with additional contributions penned exclusively for bonesmartpilates.com by Jorgina Bowen