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The Foam Roller Warm-Up – Prime Your Body for Exercise

Using a foam roller to warm-up your joints and muscles is a winning idea. Try these flexibility movements.

One of the fitness mistakes people make most often is neglecting to warm up their body sufficiently for an impending workout. A foam roller provides the perfect solution.

The idea behind a warm-up is to gradually raise your body temperature – so that your muscles are less cold and more pliable – and to lubricate your joints so that you can prevent injury as you put your physique under increasingly stressful loads:

  • For athletes in their 20s, warming up is still a good idea – though a ten-minute warm-up might be all that’s required to prepare a young body for a strenuous workout.
  • For athletes in their 30s and above, warming-up is a higher priority.
  • For people over the age of 50, it is imperative.

As modern humans become increasingly sedentary from texting, computing, and driving, the neck and hamstring muscles also require enhanced flexibility movements in order to unstick the tissues in these areas:

  • The ball-and-socket joints of the shoulders and hips are areas where injuries commonly occur from exercise, as well as the sensitive vertebrae of the lower back.
  • Injuries aside, the are certain key exercises – such as pressing and squatting – that can only be done effectively if there is already a certain level of mobility in the shoulders and hips.

From an ancestral perspective, muscles and joints are meant to be supple.

What is Synovial Fluid and Why Does It Matter?

Your body produces a substance called synovial fluid to lubricate its joints.

Just as car engines have motor oil, your body has synovial fluid so that your bones can move past one another effortlessly.

See the video lower within this article for movement examples that will help keep your synovial fluid moving freely around your joints.

The more sedentary you are the less your body thinks you need fluidity. If you don’t use it, you lose it – as the saying goes – and soon your joints become sticky, abrasive, and at risk for injury the next time you decide to move quickly, spontaneously, or under a weight-bearing load.

This is why, with each passing year, warming up properly before exercise becomes even more important.

Mature male athlete prepares to use foam roller to warm-up for workout.

What is Spinal Compression and Why Does It Matter?

Our spines are meant to be long and bendy.

During pre-history, our ancestors did not sit in chairs.

Modern life, on the other hand, involves sitting for absurdly long periods of time – and this can shorten spines.

A compressed spine means vertebrae are too close to one another, and this can put undue pressure on spinal nerve endings resulting in slipped discs, extreme pain, or – at the very least – unattractive posture.

 
 

Try This Foam Roller Warm-Up

This series of movements is designed to mitigate sticky synovial fluid and spinal compression – and to restore joint and muscular mobility.

Refer to the video to see how each specific movement is executed.

This warm-up is for both men and women. Modify the movement to accommodate your unique fitness level and limitations.

As always, consult with your own medical doctor before beginning any new movement regimen.

Movement Series with Supported Spine:

  • Robot Arms
  • Around the World
  • Crunch and Hold
  • Bird Wings

Movement Series with Elevated Hips:

  • Knee Circles
  • Hip Flexor Stretch
  • Helicopter
  • Bridge

Reclined Series:

  • Foot Rolls
  • Point-and_flex
  • Knee Hug
  • Twist
  • Human Ball
  • Lower Back Stretch
  • Hamstring Hug
  • Happy Baby
  • Adductor (Cobbler’s) Stretch
54-year old man warms up on foam roller before intense workout.

Sitting on Foam Roller:

  • Glute Roll

A glute roll involves crossing one leg, then leaning over to the side of that crossed leg and using the foam roller to roll out the side of your buttock and outer thigh.

When rolling, the idea is to try to deeply relax the area you are targeting:

  • You’re looking for the sweet spot – the specific place where the muscle feels tight or uncomfortable.
  • Then, you roll the area while taking slow deep breaths with the intention of loosening the tight fibers surrounding that particular place.
Dane Findley age 54 helps others achieve stellar wellness and a healthier physique.
Dane earned a master’s degree in Counseling Depth Psychology from Pacific Graduate Institute. His past professional adventures include being a Therapist and Discharge Planner at a Dual-Diagnosis Hospital Inpatient Treatment Program, Digital Marketing Director for a real estate brokerage, and decades spent as a professional fitness and Pilates trainer. Today, Dane is a Healthy-Lifestyle Advocate and he curates the popular Quality of Life Newsletter – a free weekly update for creative types who want to increase their daily joy. Currently, he’s facilitating the new online course “Silver and Strong: How to Get Fantastically Fit After Age 50,” which helps people learn to eat for lean strength. Click-through for details.
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