Walking is good exercise and one of the most important things you can do for the health of your back and spine. It’s recommended that people over the age of 18 get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week to maintain health and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions associates with sedentary lifestyles (e.g., obesity, arthritis, poor joint health, depression, anxiety).
People engaging in regular physical exercise experience reduces pain while those who don’t find it harder to cope with back pain. So, getting outside for a brisk walk every two days for 30 to 60 minutes can help relieve back pain, if done routinely.
Benefits to Walking
The direct benefits of adding regular walking include:
- increase flexibility in your lower back
- strengthens the bones
- better blood circulating in the supporting muscles in your back
- regulates weight
- Improves overall health, physically and mentally
For people with chronic lower back pain, having and maintaining a strong core means better posture and stability. This reduces back pain and makes those aches and pains you feel when standing for prolonged periods—or sitting at your workstation—less frequent.
Walking at a brisk pace while taking long strides helps you to work the muscles that support the stomach, back, and pelvis. In turn, you get the added benefit of shedding visceral fat around the abdomen while strengthening your back. Not a bad deal! Add the distraction of enjoying the environment around you as you walk, and you can easily turn this into a pleasurable routine.
A study of women walkers found that those who walked over 7.5 miles per week had higher mean bone density than women who walk less than 1 mile per week. The results also showed that walking slowed the rate of bone loss in the legs. In conclusion, researchers stated, “These results strongly support the widely held belief that walking is a beneficial form of physical activity for maintaining skeletal integrity.”
Better blood circulation
Poor circulation can lead to several health problems, like obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions. If you’re someone living with high blood pressure, a walk can help improve your blood pressure and circulation. Walking helps blood flow to the muscles and tissues that support the spine, as well as into the spine itself. Muscles produce toxins as they expand and contract. The pooling of these toxins within your muscles can create that stiffness you feel. Regular walking flushes out of the muscles thus making your back more flexible.
During a brisk 30-minute walk four times per week burns an extra 1,000 calories and boosts your metabolism, making weight loss more effective. One advantage of walking it requires no equipment and, for the most part, no medical approval from your doctor. Simply place a good pair of comfortable shoes on your feet and head out the door.
Improves overall health
Another benefit to walking is that it’s an activity you can do with others. You can make walking a social activity that allows you to enjoy good conversation or something you do to enjoy music, podcasts, or audiobooks as you stroll around your neighborhood, park, or track. Walking releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. This helps fight off depression and anxiety and aid in making your pain more bearable.
For an exercise with such a low barrier to entry, the benefits of walking on your back spill over into other areas of your life, helping you to enjoy total health. We encourage you to download a good walking app on your phone’s app store and let your journey to a healthier back and spine begin today.