In order to take full advantage of all the benefits our bodies have to offer, we have to be actively responsible for maintaining the amazing machinery gifted to us. As we age, and put wear and tear on our bodies, it becomes increasingly challenging for our bodies to passively do all that work for us. We have to take matters into our own hands… and sometimes arms, legs, necks, backs, and bellies. We have to understand and apply the importance of consciously rolling, massaging, and correcting our points of pain, loosening up our tight spots, and stretching out our bodies to reclaim the full range of beautiful and graceful movements we often forget and take for granted.
In all honesty, it’s not always going to be the most pleasurable experience in the world. There will be varying degrees of discomfort, depending on the amount of time and neglect you’ve endured over the years. The fact of the matter is, our bodies are finely tuned machines with very powerful yet delicately precise parts. We can put a lot of mileage on our joints, muscles, and tendons, and never know the damage we’re causing. It’s all too often that we only ever realize that something’s wrong when something very obvious does go wrong. With what science and our common experience has taught us, there are better ways to take care of the machinery than to wait for a catastrophic failure.
Before our knees get ground down to bone, necks strain, spines get misaligned, and backs groan with screaming pain, let’s do what we all can to make sure we get the most bang for the fitness buck out of our bodies.
“How?” … you ask.
Simple! Go ahead and click on one or all three of the pictures here. Choose your flavor of fix from either a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or the good ol’ “Pinky.”
* PS, I do get a little money ( and I mean, ‘microscopic’ ) when you click on and buy from one of those links *
You can probably guess that each offers varying plusses and minuses for your needs.
The foam roller is bigger, and can cover larger areas like your back, chest, thighs, and calves. It’s also far easier on sore spots since you can use your body to massage as deeply or as lightly as you want, versus either the lacrosse ball or ‘Pinky.’
Now, if you’re feeling especially brave, or just have to get into those hard to reach places with particularly stubborn soreness or tightness, I’d recommend the lacrosse ball. Just remember that this is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve put a lot of mileage on your body, and have never even considered the idea of stretching in your life, this might be a bit too pro for you.
Personally, it seems to require a mix of zen buddhist, corporeal detachment and a hint of masochism. To put it bluntly, it will hurt!
Okay, maybe that’s a little overdramatic but when it comes down to it, there is a point at which the deeper you go, the more it will start to hurt. The lacrosse ball is like your mom, seemingly sweet and unassuming to most but she also knows your secrets. She won’t hesitate to let your friends know how you used to pee your bed when you were 10, every time you cried, freaked out by the long shadows crawling into your room from the hallway, in the middle of the night.
The lacrosse ball will dig deep and reveal your nasty little bits. Luckily, just like your mom, it’s only doing it for your own good!
So now that I’ve got you freaked out about THAT, let me introduce you to the ‘Pinky.’ The ‘Pinky’ is like your sweet aunt. She won’t hesitate to crack jokes at your expense sometimes but she’s also going to sneak you a candy here and there, when your mom says you’re not allowed to because you haven’t eaten all your veggies. It’s simply more forgiving, and can be a great starter for someone who’s interested in hitting some deep trouble spots but doesn’t want the Inquisition-like torture of the lacrosse ball.
Of course, these three don’t have to be used on their own to the exclusion of the other two. They can be mixed and matched according to your needs, and your level of bravery. Whatever the case, if you want to get the most bang for your buck with your training, and want to reclaim some lost functionality, mobility, or range, I would highly encourage you to give 1, 2, or all 3 of them for a spin!
… okay, just kidding, not entirely. This is crucial in order to allow your body to stop producing cortisol, and create the right hormones to produce the right results you’ve been looking for!