Walking: the risk-free activity that relieves back pain

How often do you go for a walk? I can’t think of many forms of exercise which have so many benefits and practically no risks or side effects. Other than the obvious advantage of weight control, the health benefits of a daily walk – just 30 minutes a day – are huge, reducing the risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, to name a few.

We can all be too lazy when we don’t feel like doing something – inactivity also causes back pain!

Regular walking and gentle movements can help elevate systems.

Tips for walking

Walk at a relaxed pace. Many people with back pain find walking too slowly or stopping and starting worsens their backs.  Keep moving – it helps! It’s not a good idea to over-strain or walk too quickly. Find your own comfort level.

Don’t over-stride! Keep the legs and ankles relaxed to stop any jarring.  Modern thinking is not to heel strike but to land mid-foot; this happens naturally with a short stride.

Swing the arms and the keep your shoulders relaxed.  This makes you more energy efficient and keeps you going.

For best movement walk without carrying anything but if necessary, carry a back pack and don’t over load it.

Little and often. Split your daily walk into a few short bursts – it’s just as beneficial.  Some people find shorter walks better, others prefer longer walks for their back. Listen to your body and vary it.

Make it fun! Why not go with a friend, join a walking club, get a dog or become a dog walker! These could all help to keep you at it.

Jeremy English

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