Have you heard of the calf pump?

Have you heard of the calf pump?

In college we were taught about the calf pump. It's the contracting and relaxing of the calf muscles during walking which is needed to pump the venous blood back to the heart, as the fluids are working against gravity. The muscular contractions squeeze the smooth blood vessels to keep the blood moving up. Special valves in the veins help prevent the flow being pushed south. As a result, this means the heart has to pump less hard to suck the blood back up.

So from this we can deduce that the calf is an important factor in cardiovascular health as it is part of the system that makes it efficient.

But, EVERY MUSCLE in the body has the job of doing this. Amazing, huh?!

Get Moving!

Our tissues are highly vascular. Our 3D selves are literally filled with some medium to large sized blood vessels but a gazillion super tiny blood vessels called capillaries. We have to be able to pump oxygenated blood into every cell of our body and we need to be able to get rid of the fluids out of the tissues for the body to dispose of them. In order for this to happen we need movement. And I don't just mean exercise! I mean regular movement which can be in the form of anything that you enjoy. For example, walking is one of the best forms of movement but so is Pilates (obviously) and Yoga. Therefore, just getting up and moving more; getting up from your desk to move around and to stretch, every 30 minutes will help to get any sluggish pools of blood moving. As a result, this will bring nutrition into every corner of every tissue. If we move more and very importantly, move differently, then our heart has to work less because the whole body is then joining in; to keep the blood flowing into every cell.

You can only contract a muscle as well as you can relax it, so, we need to remove any unnecessary tension or 'sticky' restrictions from the musculo-skeletal system to improve our cardiovascular health. Osteopathy can help with this, as we use techniques to unstick any sticky areas. Guided movement with an expert (me :)) in encouraging the right amount of movement to the right place is nutritious for not only the musculo-skeletal system, but the cardiovascular system too.

Isn't the body amazing?!

image of a body, half skeleton, half muscles

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