Stretch With This Kitchen Gadget
Tucked away neatly in one of your kitchen drawers, your rolling pin can actually be used to help you feel better. No, not for making cookies or pies. A rolling pin can be used in place of a foam roller or a roller-massager. Recent research shows that rolling or massaging your fascia can have positive effects on your health and exercise performance.
So what is fascia? Fascia is connective tissue holding muscle in place, and it’s often called myofascia (myo, meaning muscle). Picture an orange, with the peel representing your skin. Each piece of the orange is held in place by the membrane and the membrane would be considered your fascia. The juicy orange sections would be your muscles. Fascia is made of collagen, like your skin, and it has nerve endings. Fascia can hold tension or stress and this is where rolling comes into play.
A peer-reviewed journal article evaluated whether rolling the body’s fascia improves range of motion and/or exercise performance. The consensus was that range of motion can be improved with regular rolling, and it appears that the body’s performance isn’t affected. In addition, rolling after exercise can help with post-workout soreness known as DOMS. Some mild positive effects were noted when people rolled prior to exercising. Rolling can also help you feel better and release tension.
When using your rolling pin, sit on the floor with your back against a chair or wall and your legs comfortably apart. Avoid rolling on the back-side of the kneecap. Place the rolling pin under one thigh and gently roll back and forth between your bottom and knee. Apply enough force that you feel the pressure but it’s not painful. Lean towards one side, try different amounts of force, and stop when you want to. Repeat on the other side. Your calves might enjoy a roll too, starting below the knee and stopping when it’s uncomfortable. Only try your legs with the rolling pin or roller-massager. If you enjoy the feel, you might want to invest in a foam roller to try other body parts like your back or shoulders.
So, the next time you work out or feel stress in your body, grab a foam roller, a roller-massager or a rolling pin.
Written by: Allison Thummel, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern