Walking: The Unsung Hero of Circulation

Apr 15, 2024

In order to maintain longevity in our body, we must move our body in all directions, moving all days in all the ways. Meaning it is important to move your joints through their entire range, and do this often. We all know the phrase, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’. This is true in regards to our overall mobility. As we age, it’s essential that we keep moving our body through a myriad of range-of-motions and directions so that we may maintain more ease of movement & function.


The above is one of the reasons I love Animal Flow so much. It is a system that is designed to enhance the communication within one’s body. Each movement invites the opportunity to explore range in your joints while under load which is essential for keeping mobility (the combination of strength & flexibility).


Generally speaking, walking is one of the greatest movements we can do for our body. If you are currently in a space where you aren’t super consistent in any sort of movement routine, start with walking. Start simple. Then you can progress to adding in more dynamic, multi-planar, and strength movements. But walking is AWESOME for your body. It gives your body the opportunity to move in gravity, lubricating joints as you walk.


Since the recent class I took on the pelvis in February in Santa Fe, I have started thinking of walking more and more as a pump. When we walk with optimal biomechanics, the movement that is happening from the feet to the ankles to the legs to the pelvis, acts as a pump for all of the fluid and organs in our torso.


Ok, let me explain further what I mean about walking as a pump.


Ideally, your innominates move with your legs. Meaning your body has the ability to dissociate the sacrum from the innominates. When things become associated, they lose adaptability. What that means in this case is, at the sacroiliac joint, if your innominates are not able to move free from the sacrum, meaning the innominate and sacrum are strongly associated together, this will create a lot of rigidity and dysfunction in your gait, and likely a lot of physical discomfort. 



When the sacrum goes with spine and the innominates with legs, so dissociating the legs and sacrum from each other, this allows for the pump of the walk cycle. What is creating this sort of pump action is due to the outflare/inflare, anterior/posterior rotations of the innominates through the walk cycle. Those motions act as pumps for the fluids and everything above. 


We can't walk well if the sacrum can’t dissociate from the innominates. The sacrum is free to move with the spine when it’s disassociated from the innominates. This invites the psoas to stretch and allows spirals to move through the spine. Inviting in a more easeful, graceful, more efficient gait.



A part of what’s important in getting this pump to move is also the movement of the ankle. The innominate actions are what allow the ankle to move well, and vice versa: they are coupled. If you’ve been in to see me for Rolfing, the chances are at some point I’ve talked to you about engaging your big toe hinge in the push off phase of walking. The reason for this is because it helps your body find a full roll through in your gait, helping to increase ankle ROM in normal walking which then translates up the chain into what is happening at your pelvis (with your innominates).



When things aren’t moving so well in your pelvis and it’s not acting like a pump, fluids can stagnate, they become more acidic and have lower oxygen. So when we walk and have dissociated motion with the stretching and releasing of the tissues it helps to pump the fluids.


Alright, I realize that might be a lot but am hopeful you are able to track. I’ll continue to share more on this idea of walking as a pump in further months’ newsletters. 


For now, here are some ways you can work with this idea to help your body have more freedom in your innominates and greater ease in walking:

  1. Release your quads with foam rolling 
  2. Ankle Mobility 
  3. Turn on Your Psoas
  4. Activate Your Psoas in Walking
  5. Open Your Hips
  6. Open Up Your Feet


One idea of how to start playing with the above explanation of walking as a pump along with these blog resources, try out one of the blog suggestions/ day, on the 7th day of the week, play with all of them together in your body, how does that feel?


How does that support your body in finding the easeful pump action of walking?


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