In Part 1 of this series, I discussed that better athletes move with fluidity and grace. And since fascia is the medium of movement, to move better you need to have healthy fascia.
What Leads to Unhealthy Fasica?
A sedentary lifestyle, repetitive movement patterns, muscle imbalances, inflammation, and injuries to name a few. So, how can we create connective tissue that is healthy?
Creating Healthy Fascia
Another pertinent question on my Health History Intake form is: How much water do you drink in ounces per day? The most common answer I get is ‘not enough’.
Step 1 is Hydrate
How Much Water is Enough?
As a C.H.E.K Holistic Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, I learned many years ago that the easiest way to calculate your daily water intake was to divide your body weight in half and drink that amount of ounces of water per day. For example. If you were a 200lb male, 200 divided by 2 = 100 oz. Or approximately 3 – 1 liter bottles of water per day.
- Water makes up 70% of your fascia and muscle. If you don’t have enough water in your tissues, you can be rest assured that your fascia won’t be healthy.
**If your fascia isn’t hydrated it will not be elastic enough to stretch. You will not be able to improve your flexibility/mobility no matter how much stretching you do if you are not properly hydrated.
“We must have hydration of our fascial tissue. Just like you think about hydrating your skin with moisturizer, 2/3 of our skin/fascia is water.”__Dr. Emily Splichal
“You cannot stretch a dry sponge. If you do, it will crack.”__Brett Cohen
Now that we understand the importance of hydration and how it can affect your flexibility let’s move on to step 2.
Once your tissues have by hydrated we can now roll or massage them. This practice is commonly called “foam rolling” because the first generation of tools designed for this purpose were made from heat-molded foam.
Step 2 is Manipulate
How Does Foam Rolling Help Us?
Having had formal training in this area by the manufacturers of RAD ROLLER products, I can attest that this can be a very lengthy topic! So, I’m just going to keep things simple here and tell you just enough of what you need to know.
Roll Baby Roll
- Why do we roll? In short, to improve tissue quality.
- Hydration: As you move your body onto a massage tool or a massage tool into your body, you are pushing the water inside of your muscles and fascia out. And just like the tide, that water rushes back in when the pressure is removed. It’s just like walking in wet sand near the ocean’s edge. With every step you take, your foot pushes the water out of the sand and as you lift your foot, water rushes in to fill the void. Self-massage helps to hydrate your muscles and fascia.
- SMR (self-myofascial release) increases blood flow, removing waste products that build from sitting. It also increases the nutrients and oxygen available to our systems. The effects of self-massage extend beyond our local tissues and help our bodies globally by resetting our nervous system. A self-massage break during the day will help the body and mind.
- Relaxation: When using a foam roller or massage ball, move slowly and use sustained pressure when you come across an uncomfortable spot, that pressure communicates with the nervous, causing the muscle to relax. That’s the magic moment. That’s the window of opportunity to stretch. It’s this combination, this one-two punch, that allows us to increase our movement capabilities.
- It’s important to remember that muscle and fascia always work together. Like Batman and Robin. When a muscle contracts, the fascia supports it, ultimately producing the desired movement.
Brett’s Bottom Line:
Whatever you want to call it: flexibility, mobility, pliability, elasticity. I don’t care. Rolling, followed by stretching improves movement capabilities. That’s our ultimate goal. Feel better, move better, play better.
End of Part 2