Foam rollers are excellent for improving mobility and releasing muscle tension. Today we will look at the most effective foam roller exercises for seniors!
If you’ve goon into a gym or a yoga class in the past decade, I’m sure you have seen foam rollers. You might have even wondered what they are for or if they are painful to use.
Foam rollers have become very popular devices for muscle maintenance as they help with muscle soreness, tension, and flexibility.
You can see people rolling on foam rollers at yoga classes and in gyms before and after workouts all the time. But how effective are they and they are they suitable for seniors? Let’s find out!
What Are Foam Rollers
Foam rollers are simple cylindrical objects usually made out of hard plastic pipe that is covered with compressed plastic foam.
Foam rolling is essentially a method of self-myofascial release. Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissues that wrap around your muscles and ligaments. The purpose of fascia is to protect these structures and to transfer force.
Myofascial release is considered alternative medicine because there is little evidence for its efficacy in treating many claimed diseases like cancer.
That said there is plenty of evidence and anecdotal experience in foam rollings effectiveness in releasing muscle tension, relaxing the muscles and improving flexibility. This is what I use for myself combined with static and dynamic stretching.
Foam rolling is a perfect complimentary body maintenance routine for strength training. While strength training is excellent for improving mobility and active range of motion, it tends to create tension in the muscles over time.
Foam rolling helps to release this tension caused by strength training. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I always recommend strength training for seniors because it’s so effective for improving your health, balance and well being.
Benefits of Foam Rolling For Seniors
Seniors often have years of built-up muscle tension and tightness that foam rolling can really help. I find that foam rolling is especially effective for stretching and relaxing the large muscle of the back and spine.
These muscle groups are very hard to stretch by yourself with other methods. Essentially foam rolling allows you to massage places you can’t reach with your hands to release built-up muscle tension.
Foam rolling can also really help with back pain as it allows deep tissue muscle release around the spine. This can help you open up a locked up facet joints in the upper back and release tension in the lower back and the glutes.
Foam rollers allow you to control the amount of pressure by adjusting the amount of bodyweight you support with the roller. Foam rolling can vary from a very relaxing and pleasant feeling to complete agony but it’s always in your own control.
If you have very sore muscles it’s always wise to start slow and be careful. You should be especially careful with rolling your spine, never overextend your spine and if you feel pain around your spine always consult a doctor before continuing. Basically use common sense.
That said, foam rolling is often used by athletes to open up very tight and sore leg muscles in the thighs, hamstrings, and calves. This can be extremely painful as these muscles are full of sensitive trigger points.
Foam rolling is also excellent exercise because it requires you to move your bodyweight around in cumbersome poses. If you foam roll your whole body for 20 minutes, you will get quite a bit of exercise.
Best Foam Roller Exercises For Seniors
I find foam rolling is most effective for releasing muscle tension in the back muscles. It can be used for releasing tension effectively in the legs and the hips as well.
Especially the tight spots of the upper hamstrings and glutes seem to respond really well to foam rolling. This is likely because they are very hard to stretch effectively.
Quads, hamstrings, and calves can be stretched effectively with statics stretches but foam rolling can help with further muscle tension release.
Below you can find one of the best foam rolling instructions I’ve found on YouTube, created by AdvocateHealthCare:
Best Foam Roller For Seniors
For seniors, my recommendation is to get a longer foam roller as they are easier to keep in place while changing positions. They take up a bit more space but the comfort of use is worth it. If you pick a too short one, they tend to roll to the side and away from under you as you move.
My recommendation is the AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller
It’s a simple high-density polypropylene roller with an almost smooth surface. This is important because there are a lot of foam rollers with different kinds of “trigger point” patterns. They simply don’t work and make it harder to get an effective tension release.
I find smooth surface rollers are superior because they give and even tension and you can feel the tense spots better because you know it not just the patterns in the roller.
They are proven to be durable and suitable for all body types. The overly positive reviews speak for themselves. You can’t go wrong this one!
I hope you found these tips for foam rolling exercises for seniors useful. If you have any questions about foam rollers or the exercises, please leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you soon.
To recap, foam rolling is an excellent way to improve your spine and joint mobility, improve posture and release years of muscle tension.
Choosing the right kind of roller is important as only the smooth ones really work. Make sure to pick a long enough model so that it’s easy and comfortable to use.
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See you next time!