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Spongy balls offer relief to body's aches

June 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The wear-and-tear of everyday living can produce a lot of aches and pains. Stretching and strengthening can help the body out, but can two little balls give the body what it needs? Fitness expert Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up, says typical tasks overuse our muscles resulting in tension and knots.

"Our bodies start to lose elasticity, we start to lose power and if we're overusing certain tissues, we really start to decompose," Miller said.

Muscles in front of the shoulder blades are a perfect example, shortening up due to using the keyboard, shopping cart or stroller, to name a few.

A daily massage to that area can release tension and break up any adhesions that form from overuse.

"We're always orienting our eyes towards our computer screens, those muscles get really, really tired," Miller said.

Above that scapular area lies the upper trapezius muscles that are also over stressed due to tasks like lifting kids, cradling the phone and even improper strength training.

Try putting one of the balls on one trapezius in between head and shoulder, and roll a bit to release tension. Advanced exercisers can put a ball on each and roll up to a bridge.

Desk jockeys might appreciate using the balls together in their carry bag to release the wrist and forearms.

Lower back aches can subside by placing the balls in the small of the back on either side of the spine and rolling up and down, side to side.

Even the gluteus medius at the hip enjoys compression. Roll up and down, around and across the muscle to increase circulation.

And don't forget the feet.

"Your Achilles tendon can get overly shortened, our plantar fascia gets wicked tight and bruised, and we need things to help spread our toe bones open," Miller said.

Much like floss keeps teeth and gums conditioned, the Tune Up balls stretch, circulate and lubricate joints and muscles, and at $10 a pair, they're much cheaper than a pricey massage. Why not give it a roll?


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