​A tennis ball is a perfect, inexpensive, space-saving tool for stretching and self-massage. You can take it with you practically everywhere and use it daily.

I use a tennis ball for stretching after jogging and weight training. I also used it a lot in the last year while I was in hospital receiving cancer treatment. They are literally my favourite piece of sport equipment and I always make use of them with my students and trainees at my courses too—even the online ones!

The holidays are a perfect time to try out a new stretching and self-massage routine. Check out our latest blog for a full guide on using a tennis ball for foot rolling.

We hope you’ll find these easy exercises helpful.

Happy New Year!

Streching exercises and self-massage – rolling a tennis ball

I suggest getting a harder, more durable tennis ball. One that will not break under your weight.

We start with the foot. The foot is one of the most complicated structures in our body. There are as many as 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. In addition, there are as many as 72,000 nerve endings responsible for contact between the most important parts of the body. Their stimulation through pressure massage of the feet has a positive effect on the work of internal organs. Rolling (pressing) points in the foot can improve its blood supply, increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients, and relax tension in the body.

By Michael Keet, Central London College of Reflexology

Make three deep breaths in and out, then bend down as far as you can. Check your range of motion. Can you touch your toes? Or maybe just your knees? Do not push yourself too far. Just remember how far you could comfortably reach.

Place the ball under one foot. You can put your hands on your waist for balance while you roll the ball along the entire sole of your foot, from toe to heel and back again. Do not flex your feet muscles while rolling. Try to be as relaxed as possible and keep your muscles soft under pressure. Aim for 8 – 10 repetitions per foot. If there is a lot of tension, you can increase the number of repetitions up to 15. If you find a particularly sensitive spot, gently press the ball into this area and count to five.

After rolling the first foot, bend as far as you can towards your toes again. Has your range of motion increased? I guarantee you that after rolling both feet you will feel that your whole body is looser and that you will be able to bend a few centimetres lower.

After rolling your feet, you could try a back massage. When we are stressed, we often carry it in our neck and shoulder area. The tennis ball can help loosen it. Stand with your back to a wall and place the ball between the sore spot on your back and the wall. Lean into the ball and move it in circular movements with your body weight. Do 8 – 10 repetitions. As with rolling your food, if you find a particularly sensitive spot, press the ball into it and count to five.  You can massage your entire back and neck muscles this way. But remember, do not roll the spine, only the muscles around it. When you are finished, take three deep breaths.

How do you feel?

We hope these are helpful and help set you up for a relaxing new year!​

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