October 25

Foam Roller Exercise Your Way to Better Body Awareness

  • Min. Read

There’s Big Benefits in Foam Roller Exercise

People LOVE them.  If you ask anyone who does Pilates what their favorite mat class prop is, most of them will tell you it’s the foam roller.  

foam roller exercise

Anyone who is serious about their exercise routine will agree -  

Foam rollers are the best!

Mat With Foam Roller

But what is it about foam roller exercise that has people raving about its mere existence?  

hips and hamstring stretches

Before we get into why people love them, let’s talk about what a foam roller is and what it does.  A lightweight, cylindrical tube of compressed foam, they come in different sizes, lengths and degrees of firmness.  

foam roller exercise

While it’s commonly known for its deep self-massage role in runners’ communities, the foam roller originated from the Feldenkrais method.   

What Is The Feldenkrais Method?

This mode of movement aims to reduce pain and mobility issues in the body, as well as increase one’s overall body awareness. This exercise therapy was created by Israeli Moshé Feldenkrais during the mid-20th century.

 The method is claimed to reorganize connections between the brain and body and so improve body movement and psychological state.

Now, let’s take a look at how foam roller exercises can help increase your overall body awareness.

1. Kyphotic Posture

 Kyphotic posture is when the top of the back appears more rounded than normal. This is becoming more common due to the amount of time we spend sitting at computers and looking down at devices.

foam roller exercise

Jamie is a good example of how incorporating the foam roller exercises has been beneficial. Her shoulders round forward but no matter how many times throughout the day she tries to stand up straight, she finds herself falling right back into bad posture.  Ever since Jamie has been doing her chest stretches on the foam roller she’s found that she’s able to maintain good posture for longer stretches, and that she doesn’t have to think so hard about correcting her posture.  It’s coming more naturally now. 

2. Balance & Proprioception

foam roller exercise

"There’s been a vast improvement!"

In terms of balance and proprioception, we turn to Frances.  Frances is clumsy.  She trips over everything (and sometimes nothing!) and while her friends joke about her clumsiness, it’s actually becoming a serious issue. She’s had many minor falls and a few more serious ones. A friend recommended Frances start integrating foam roller exercises into her daily routine.  She started doing balance work on the foam roller, and has discovered that her big stumbles and falls are fewer and further between. If she trips her body responds quickly to reorient and steady her. 

Mat With Foam Roller

foam roller exercise
For those who wish to incorporate foam roller exercise into their Pilates, there’s a great, free class - 2 classes actually, one 20 minutes long and one 50 minutes long called Mat with Foam Roller.

While we get the benefit from the roller of that oh-so-good self-massage, we spend the majority of our time in this class using the foam roller to challenge our balance.  

foam roller exercise

Because it is only 6 inches away from the mat we can attempt some wild balancing acts such as laying on the roller and keeping our arms and legs in the air. For a second. Maybe two!

In addition to the self-massage and balance challenges, rollers can also be used for bolstering. They can assist you in finding proper alignment which will make the Pilates mat exercises more effective, thus producing better results.  

foam roller exercise

If you think about it, including foam roller exercises is an all around winning situation!

Mat With Foam Roller

The firmness of rollers is a personal preference, but for this class you will need a full-length roller (36”)  to fully enjoy the rewarding chest stretches included in every foam roller class. To access Mat with Foam Roller go to Fitstreams.club and visit the Pilates Mat program. You’ll find it under the Level 2 classes.  


About the author

Laurie Johnson

Laurie’s clear and candid cueing makes classes easy to follow without looking at the screen. Her wit and good nature create an enjoyable class that challenges your limits and celebrates your successes.  

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