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The start of a new year brings about resolutions, most often times related to health and fitness. Target seemed to hone in on this fact and had some great sales going on last time I was there.

My new purchases:

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I found this jacket while browsing the sale rack. When I tried it on I was immediately surprised at how light weight AND warm it was. Even better….it was half-off the original price!

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The capris were not on sale but seeing as how I’ve been wanting a pair, $20 seemed like a fair price to pay.

What was on sale however, and one of the main reasons we went to Target in the first place, was this foam roller.

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I’ve been hearing a lot about foam rolling recently. Many people swear by it as a way of relieving muscle soreness. At first glance it just looked like a big pool noodle so I wasn’t really impressed. I decided more research was needed…

Foam Rolling 101

Runner’s World recommends foam rolling as the best way to prevent knots in your muscles and likens it to “using a rolling pin to roll out lumps in bread dough.” The basic principle involves using your own body weight to apply direct pressure to a specific area. In doing so, knots that may have formed are worked out.

You mean to tell me a round piece of foam can do all that? I’ll believe it when I see it…

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Fun with Foam

Buying the roller was just step one. I then had to figure out what on earth to do with it.

Thankfully it came with an instructional video and just like that my Saturday night plans were solidified. What can I say, I’m a wild and crazy kind of gal.

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So I did it. I rolled. And it was amazing.

But what exactly was involved? One of my favorite health and fitness websites, Greatist.com, has a handy-dandy infographic with the basics.

The upper back and hip flexor moves were my favorite, as those are generally places I experience the most muscle tightness.

The key is to roll until you find a tender spot and then apply direct pressure for 30 seconds or so. There are times when this pressure isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it feels SO much better when you’re done.

Once I was briefed on the fun of foam I taught Z to use it and he agreed it was good stuff. We even encountered foam rolling at CrossFit, as each class starts with 5 minutes of it. Now that we know how to use it properly we make sure to take full advantage.

The Verdict

A foam roller is a surprisingly useful tool. If nothing else it is MUCH cheaper than going to get a massage (which I’ve never actually done by the way).

If I’ve sold you on the fun of foam and you’d like to try it yourself, head on over to YouTube. There are tons of instructional videos to help you make sure you’re doing it properly.

Happy rolling!

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