November Fitness Tips Published Nov. 1, 2016 By Michelle Walker 169th Force Support Squadron MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Foam rolling means rolling out your muscles with a piece of hard foam. Foam rolling is a way to help smooth out your facia, the connective tissue that stretches over and through your muscles. Inactivity, repetitive motion, and injuries can cause the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue to bind together. This causes 'knots' or 'trigger points,' that lead to tightness. When you roll out, you release these knots, and this helps reduce muscle tightness and improve joint mobility. This process is typically accomplished with a foam roller, which is a cylindrical tool typically made of dense foam plastic. There are other tools like massage sticks and therapy balls that are designed to help work out the knots, too. When you foam roll it's like getting a mini massage before you train. Think of foam rolling as an essential building block to your regular workout In the short term, foam rolling can provide immediate relief from body pain due to tightness. You may notice that your legs start to feel light and tingly because foam rolling also increases circulation. And there's an obvious long-term payoff, too. Strength training is an essential part of a balanced workout program--and foam rolling plays a major part in making sure that tightness and knots don't get in your way and prevent you from reaching your goals. Reducing tightness can also help you perform your best during non-strength workouts. If you are needing a little extra energy and healthy alternative to your afternoon snack you have to give these a try! Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites Ingredients · 1 cup rolled oats · 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal · 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon · 1/2 tsp ground ginger · 1/4 tsp nutmeg · 1/4 tsp ground cloves · 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter) · 1 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste if desired) · 1/3 cup canned pumpkin · 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract · 1/2 cup chopped pecans · pinch of salt Instructions 1. In a medium sized bowl combine all of the ingredients. Stir together until thoroughly combined. 2. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 10 minutes. 3. Roll the mixture into approximately 1 inch sized balls. 4. Store the energy bites in an airtight container. 5. Enjoy! Serves 18 Notes * Feel free to substitute spices for 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice if desired. (my favorite) * Use pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie mix. * These bites can last about a month in the freezer. Super yummy with Thanksgiving and cooler weather around the corner too! Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites Ingredients: · 1 1/2 cup oats · 1 cup almond butter · 1/3 cup chia seeds · 1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, divided · 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped · 1 tsp vanilla extract Directions: In a medium bowl, mix oats, almond butter, chia seeds, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, pistachios, and vanilla extract with a spoon until well combined. Roll into balls with hands, then place on parchment paper in an air-tight container. Dust with remaining cocoa powder. Refrigerate or freeze for a few hours or overnight. Serves 14.