What I bought: Gold’s Gym 18-inch massage foam roller (Walmart)
What I paid: $14.77
My healthier choices challenge has motivated me to kick it up a notch with running: I run four or five times a week (instead of two or three times), and I’ve been pushing myself to run a little farther than I had been in the last couple months. This is mostly because I want to eat more food, which is hard to do when my calories are limited. Running four miles burns approximately 400 calories, which is a whole lot of food goodness!
OK, back to the post that’s supposed to be healthy…
To make sure my run is the best it can be, and to make sure I’m in as little pain as possible after my run, I decided to get more serious about pre- and post-run stretching.
I hate stretching. I don’t know why — it usually feels good. I think it’s the time involved. Before I run, I just want to get on the treadmill as quickly as possible. When I’m done with my run, I just want to get food or get showered as quickly as possible. It’s like I can’t be bothered to spend an extra five minutes stretching.
While I’ve been pretty lucky and haven’t had any serious running-related injuries, I do have pain every so often in a few of my muscles and nerves. I read that using a foam roller before and after my workouts could help, so I finally decided to try it. After doing a little research about what kind of foam roller to buy (basically not the most expensive one but also not the cheapest one — shocker), I went to Walmart and bought the Gold’s Gym 18-inch massage foam roller.
My local Walmart had a few options, but there were really only two versions: super dense (hard) with massaging bumps or moderately dense (still pretty hard) with no massaging bumps. The super dense with massaging bumps would have been a little too intense for a beginner like me. Then my choices were what size to get. I think my options were 12-inch, 18-inch and 24-inch. Other stores (and Walmart.com) have 36-inch options as well. It all depends what you want to use it for (some people use the roller while doing Pilates and the taller rollers work better for that). I opted for the 18-inch, for no reason other than I didn’t want the shortest or longest.
The roller comes with an instructional guide that illustrates a few moves, but I desperately needed a video. I watched a lot of videos on YouTube, but this one from Runner’s World (found via a “how to use a foam roller” Google search) was my favorite. Not only did it include videos, but it was also set up so that you knew which moves to do before your run and which to do after. Thank you for the specifics!
A few other videos I watched warned me that certain moves would be more painful than others, and they were right! But it still felt good, and I felt like my muscles were a little more primed for the run and the recuperation. A few articles I read about foam rollers recommended that you use them every day, not just before and after workouts. I think I’ll have to look into that more closely to see what moves I’d want to do. I saw a few instructions for upper back massages, which would be really good for me.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with this purchase. I might have been able to get a cheaper roller via Amazon, but I was impatient and wanted the roller NOW. Since Walmart is only two miles from my house, that made it an easy decision.
I also bought a yoga mat during my Walmart trip — it might be awhile before that gets put to use. Any recommendations for beginner yogis? If I’ve never done yoga, am I allowed to say, “yogis”? Is “yogis” even the right term for ‘people who do yoga’?