As a continuation of my traveler guide #part 1 today I will talk about one of my must-have item that I always carry with me – LACROSSE BALL
Living nowadays is very fast and stressful for most of us. We have some many things to do during the day that we almost forget about ourselves and our bodies. It is challenging to fit everything in our daily schedule. Especially when we have our work, duties, travels, studies it is difficult to find time for family and friends. Exercising and training regularly are also time-consuming. But we all know that day has only 24 hours(!) and we need to prioritize our stuff and cut off some things.
For example, how many times have you skipped stretching in your training? To make your answer simpler – I will tell you, that me I SKIP IT often ! (:O) Yes, I am honest with you, sometimes, unfortunately, there is no time to do it…
And how many times have you tried to spend a bit more time at gym and do self-massage?
Never? Once per 2 weeks? It is not good. Believe me, I understand you, as me also I usually have very tight chart during the week, and that’s why I try to keep up with and make up for my missed self-message sessions with LACROSSE BALL.
No matter if you are an athlete or not, I want to recommend it to EVERYONE, as this simple tool is just a real wonder for our muscles and tendons. For these who sit all day at the office and for those who train a lot!
In my post about foam roller – you could see that it is great for improving range of motion and reducing muscle soreness. But you can also use a small, hard ball, like a lacrosse ball, to practice self-myofascial release and work out muscle kinks and soreness. On top of this, it is a simple tool, small and strong, so it can get into areas a foam roller can’t. It also happens to be super inexpensive! (I bought mine for around 7$ 🙂
So are you ready?!
To use a lacrosse ball correctly, place it under a part of your body (like your shoulders, hamstrings, or butt), and let your body weight push down on the ball. Roll around while you sit or lay on it until you find a spot that feels a little uncomfortable. Stop there and breathe in for four seconds. Then clench the muscle where the ball is and hold for four seconds. Finally, relax the muscle and exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this breathing technique until the area has softened up and then move on to the next spot.
- Set Aside 10 Minutes
While it might not seem like much, setting aside 10 minutes while you are on train/plane to massage your feet. Or try to massage before bed and roll out your legs, shoulder, back. That’s long enough to make a difference but not so long that you overdo it. Plus, soft tissue work can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply ;).
- Remember To Breathe
When you’re working on easing tension—targeting tough spots and pushing through the soreness—maintaining a steady breath may take a backseat. It shouldn’t. In fact, your breath should play a big role in the process and help to relax your mind and body at the same time.
- Target One Area At A Time
Don’t think of lacrosse-ball release as a full-body workout. This is one case where less is more. Instead of going from head to toe, spend one night working on your legs and the next on your upper back. Each time, move your focus to a different muscle group with the goal of hitting all major body parts by end of week.
The one thing to remember: Make sure to hit both sides. If you do your right leg, do your left leg the same night!
Need some inspiration for where to target? Put the ball under a spot you feel stiff.
If you have pain somewhere, think about targeting the surrounding areas. For instance, if your knee kurts, lie down and put the ball under the quads over the knee.
- Stop If It Hurts
Discomfort, especially at first, is nothing to worry about, but if you feel sharp pain, stop! If it hurts bad enough that you can’t take a full, deep breath, you need to back off the pressure by supporting your weight with your hands.
Everyone can use lacrosse ball to ease stiffness, reduce pain, and ultimately help body positioning and performance. After all, teasing out muscle kinks and working connective tissue, ligaments, and fascia takes effort. But it’s time well spent. For me this is real life-saver and easy to use when I travel and my body, especially legs need extra release and care. It makes my life better as a runner, model and traveler to keep me ready to go!