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Foam rollers—which come in a variety of densities and sizes—can also be a valuable part of a healthy runner’s warmup and cooldown routine, says Michael Clark, Ph.D., a physical therapist and CEO of the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Foam rolling improves circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout and helps it recover afterward. And because rolling breaks down knots that limit range of motion, it preps your muscles for stretching. Staying loose and limber is especially important for those demanding long runs and speed workouts you’ve been doing as part of your training.
Pro tip: Roll slowly and when you find a tender spot, focus in on it by rolling back and forth until you feel it soften or release.