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These Benefits of Foam Rolling Are Worth the Ouch

You Don't Need to Overdo It

"Go slowly and in multiple directions," says Allison Hagendorf, ACE-certified health coach. Yes, you'll feel some pain, but a foam roller isn't a torture device. Spend 20 seconds on each spot, then move on to the next one.

Foam Rolling Speeds Up Recovery

The deep compression improves circulation and allows normal blood flow to return to the area. See, after a hard workout, the fascia, or tissue surrounding your muscles, becomes tender. This tenderness may be a result of restricted blood flow. Foam rolling increases blood flow to the area in order to speed up recovery.

Foam Rolling Improves Range of Motion

Roll the knots away to boost mobility: Foam rolling improves range of motion, according to the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

Foam Rolling Breaks Up Lactic Acid

Foam roll after a tough workout to break up the lactic acid that accumulated in your muscles—it's the stuff that causes muscle fatigue. Again, this helps you recover faster. For even better results, drink water; it helps the process, says Hagendorf.

Foam Rolling Breaks Up Scar Tissue

You know that exercising creates tiny tears in your muscles, and that your muscles grow stronger as these tears heal. Over time, though, these tears can create scar tissue, which restricts muscle movement. Foam rolling smoothes out any scar tissue, helping keep your muscles mobile.