a happy soul

how taking care of your body will allow your soul to achieve a higher level of happiness

Bare Necessities Part I: Foam Roller

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New Year is almost here and that means people are making New Year’s Resolutions!

A lot of resolutions are to be more active and that is great! If this is your resolution, you should also consider working to make your body more mobile. The more range of motion you have, the more exercises you’ll be able to do correctly, therefore, the more success you will have in your resolution.

One thing I couldn’t live without is my foam roller. I’m a little obsessed. I use it for 10-20 minutes everyday before I work out. Once a week I try to set aside one hour of a mobility/stretching session where I foam roll my whole body and do a bunch of stretching.

My foam roller is one of my BARE NECESSITIES!

Why-Worry-Bare-Necessities-1

Something to ponder…when you were 5 years old you could do the splits without thinking about it. Come on, tell me you haven’t taken one of your grandkids, cousins, or siblings that are around that age and twist them into a pretzel. It’s amazing how bendy they are! From the age of 5, if you did splits every day for 20, 30, 40 years, you would still have that capability to do the splits! How cool would it be if you were 65 and could pull out the splits at your family christmas?! Maintaining our bodies flexibility not only keeps our muscles and tendons happy and healthy but allows our bodies to DO more for a longer period of time.

77-year-old Grandma Lifting

Sometimes, when I lose the motivation to work out, I will just stretch and foam roll for 10 minutes and by the end of it I’ve changed my mind and I’m ready to work out! It really gets the blood moving but also helps me unwind from the work day.

With this post, I’ll start with some basic foam rolling movements. I decided to give the women some eye candy and take pictures of my husband. 😉 He really is the mobility king so I thought this was fitting.

I typically start by foam rolling my back.

DSC01023Most of the time I’m able to crack my back as I roam roll; it’s like I am my own chiropractor! It’s a great way to loosen up all those tights muscles and lengthen my spine from sitting at work all day! Make sure to roll from your low back all the way up to your shoulders. Change up the pace from slow to medium pace and see how that feels. If you feel a tight spot, hold yourself in one spot on the foam roller and apply more pressure.

Hamstrings are next!

DSC01025  You will cross one leg over the other. The leg on the bottom will be on top of the foam roller.

You’ll want to put as much pressure as you can on your hamstrings but your arms will hold some weight. Your arms will balance you but, in combination with your core, help you move your leg over the roller.  Foam roll a small section of your hamstring at a time; I typically try to do 1/3 of the hamstring at a time and roll over each section for about 30 seconds or more. If this is too sensitive, you can put one leg on the ground to get rid of the weight on the leg you’re foam rolling.

Tight hips, meet foam roller.

DSC01026While sitting on the foam roller, cross one foot over the opposite knee. Use your available foot and hand to balance and move yourself across the foam roller.  Adjust and move yourself from side to side to reach different parts of your glute. If you’re unable to cross your foot over your knee, hold it up off the ground enough to apply pressure on your glutes.

Final movement is for your quads.

DSC01027

 This area seems to be a bit more sensitive than the hamstrings. Make sure to also do the quads in small sections. If the pressure isn’t too much, you can cross one foot over the other and roll on the leg on the bottom.

If you find you need to work your way up to that, scoot yourself to the end of the foam roller, take the outside leg that is NOT being foam rolled and place your foot out and on the ground. This will help take some of the weight off the leg, but can also help you balance and move yourself on the foam roller.

I recommend having an awesome trainer help walk you through some of these as you first start or watch some YouTube videos!

As you start your New Year Resolution, make part of it to keep some of your current mobility and maybe you can work your way to those splits!

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Author: Erica Van Treese

I live an exciting, adventurous life with my husband Ben (he can take credit for the adventurous part). We live in little ol' Columbus and we just love this city! I'm an organizer with OCD (self-diagnosed). My husband turned me into a crazy water ski competitor and taught me how to jump off a 5 foot ramp going 32mph to see how far I can go, and sometimes I don't land the way I should (The whole ski community is a little coo coo, but I love them). I love pizza, and when I proclaim my love for pizza all my friends go "We know". My favorite thing is when my family and friends gather for a meal, and there is banter and wine. I love art and looking at beautiful things and I believe every item of decor in a home should have a meaning and a story behind it. I love food and exercising, but just like any other person there are days I really don't feel like going to the gym or I just rather throw in a pizza in the oven for dinner (and sometimes I do). This blog is a reflection of my love for being happy and my journey on eating right and exercising to achieve a higher level of happiness.

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