We often think of foam rolling and other self-myofascial release (SMR) work as being for our muscles and connective tissues but there are also some really cool benefits for our circulation.

Studies show that SMR work can improve blood flow which brings in more fresh oxygen for energy production in the cells and assists with pushing out lactate and other metabolic waste that might contribute to muscle soreness and fatigue.

The new research even shows that SMR work reduces arterial stiffness and improve vascular endothelial function — which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your arteries and your vascular system is better able to regulate blood flow and get it where it’s needed.

One of my favorite spots to feel these effects is through my erectors which are the muscles that run from the base of the skull all the way down to the pelvis along both sides of the spine. Thanks to my recent mileage increases and how much time I spend hunched over my desk these days, the hard-working muscles here could use a little replenishment from time to time or they start to feel “tight”, achy, and fatigued.

Another reason to work on this area along the spine — the discs in your spine have no direct blood supply so they have to get their nourishment from the blood supply in the surrounding tissues. So by working in this area, we can gain so many great circulation benefits for the spine.

I prefer using RAD Recovery Rounds for this one instead of a foam roller so you can really get in there to the tissues along the spine without rolling over the bumpy, boney ridges along the spine. Try this technique out, it’s an awesome refresher for your back!

Circulation is such an important part of movement, tissue health, and internal function. But we don’t talk about that incredibly important role very often. But during this summer’s online Embodied Anatomy course, we’re diving right into this aspect of anatomy and exploring the system that provides the energy needs for every cell in your body to do it’s job and move you through your life.

Join Jenn Pilotti and me for this exciting, one-of-a-kind anatomy course. A few spots remain — get the details here.