As a fitness coach I am constantly talking to my clients about the importance of stretching and working on mobility. These are not necessarily the “fun” things to practice when it comes to your health and fitness, but they are important not only for your athletic performance, but for your ability to be an independently functioning human being for as many years as possible. Things like having full range of motion in your joints, the prevention of soft tissue injuries, and even just being able to touch your toes could mean the difference between living on your own and living in a nursing home.
Maybe you are new to working on your flexibility or maybe you understand the importance of it and you have even been stretching regularly, but you want to take it up a notch – what are some tools you can use to help you stretch and become more mobile? Here is a list and be forewarned, these tools may not feel good while you are using them, but you will feel better afterward!
Have you ever had a massage from a therapist who just dug in and pressed hard on one spot at a time? Or maybe you have been to a therapist who specializes in “myofascial release?” You can accomplish the same thing at home with a lacrosse ball.
Fascia is the layer of tissue in our bodies, between the layers of muscles and other connective tissues, which can get gummed up over time and with lack of movement. These sticky spots feel like tight areas and painful spots. Pressing a lacrosse ball into those spots, laying on it, or rubbing it into those areas can be helpful in releasing the fascia. I use my lacrosse ball to rub out tension in my neck and trapezius muscles. You can also tape two of them together and lie on them to work on the muscles in your lower back on either side of your spine.