Does getting your socks on feel like an Olympic sport? Does the journey to touching your toes elicit oohs and aghs? Stretching is a great way to improve flexibility but there’s another important factor to consider – your fascia.
Fascia is a type of connective tissue that wraps around every element of our body – like a body sock. Helping the body’s structures to operate optimally and as a form of protection. The myofascial that wraps around our muscles helps the muscles to slide and glide for optimal transfer of force and for protection against damage.
Myofascia is mostly collagen – very strong and very elastic. When it becomes dehydrated (through over use, under use, trauma, inflammation or age and lifestyle factors) it loses its elasticity which impacts muscle strength, endurance and even motor skills. Dehydrated myofascia forms pressure points which can be felt as tight knots. Exercise and movement rehydrates the fascia as does creating pressure point release through rolling on foam rollers or spiky balls.
Studies have shown (full paper here) that rehydrating the fascia “influences muscle and myofascial structures by increasing the compliance and extensibility of the fascia (Mohr et al., 2014) and reduces passive muscle stiffness (Morales-Artacho et al., 2017). It may also reduce muscle pain by decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness after intense exercise (MacDonald et al., 2013; Pearcey et al., 2015)”. They found “a significant increase in flexibility was observed following self-myofasical release compared to control”.
My students are always impressed when we do the same set of flexibility test stretches at the start of a myofascial release session compared with the end – the results speak for themselves. So if you’re yet to be convinced – get in touch and I’ll happily show you how to improve your flexibility in just one hour minus any actual stretches! You’ll be left feeling more fluid in your movements, less tense and more flexible.
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