Like many rehab accessories, fitness rollers have made the move from the physiotherapy room to the mainstream gym in recent years. They are widely used for Pilates core work, and by trainers and coaches looking to improve balance for sports.
Indeed, it's now possible to buy fitness rollers at many exercise equipment stores and online retailers - indeed, even Amazon now supplies them!
Fitness rollers come in a variety of sizes and two basic shapes - either cylinders or half-cylinders - with most around 3 feet long. Prices vary from ?10 - ?20.
Why have foam rollers become so popular? They have a number of benefits, including:
- Alleviating muscle tension
- Increasing balance
- Improving flexibility
- Strengthening core stability
Another popular use is as an aid to self massage - they are particularly useful for relieving trigger points, irritated muscle spots that cause pain and tension. They can be used to self-massage the following areas:
- Upper and lower back
Finally, they have also proven very successful in reducing the pain from ITB (illiotibial band) syndrome, a common injury amongst runners.
If you are unfamiliar with their use, it's worth looking for one that includes an instructional video or DVD.