Walking is one of the most primal movement patterns. It’s easy; it’s free, and nearly everyone on the planet can do it.
Surprisingly, most people don’t see walking as a super efficient, healthy form of exercise.
A lot of simplicity gets lost in modern day life. People tend to correlate the biggest with the best. Go hard or go home.
The more complicated a workout is, the more effective it has to be right?
Well, no, not necessarily. Especially if you are suffering from or trying to recover from back pain!
Some of the well-established health benefits of walking
- Weight Loss
- Increased Metabolism
- Healthier Heart
- Increased Energy
- Stronger Muscles, Bones and Joints
- Strengthens Immune System
- Reduced Back Pain
Study shows walking is as effective as clinic treatment when trying recover from back pain
The following study was recently published in the SAGE Clinical Rehabilitation Journal.
The study included 52 sedentary patients with chronic pain in their lower backs. They gave half of the patients a type of muscle-strengthening program that is typical of clinics, for two or three sessions per week over the course of six weeks. The other half began walking 20 minutes on the treadmill twice a week and then moved on to 40 minutes as their endurance was increased.
The findings showed that both groups had improved in all the factors that the researchers had assessed. One of the head researchers commented that the walking treatment is “as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic”.
How long should you walk?
I would personally aim to walk around 30 minutes every day. More is perfectly fine too if you have the time.
Organizing a walking club or just meeting up with your friends can be a great way to make walking more enjoyable or social.
Alternatively you can listen to audiobooks or your favorite podcasts if you feel like your time spent walking isn’t productive enough.
5 Tips for better walking posture
Disclaimer: These tips are not intended as medical advice. Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
1. Walk with a spring in your step.
Ideally, if you were to look at yourself from the side as you were walking. You would want to see your head moving up and down in a bobbing motion.
While this may feel strange at first, it will go a long way to improving your walking posture.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how you should achieve the bobbing-head motion, try to think about using your toes to push off the ground as your foot is leaving contact with the ground.
2. Use a longer stride length
Increasing your stride length will help strengthen the gluteal muscles that will go a long way to improving your overall posture and back health.
3. Feet point forward
Keep your legs close together and your feet pointing directly forward. Don’t let your feet flare outwards. Doing this will strengthen the wrong muscles, and you’ll end up walking like Donald Duck.
4. Let your shoulders move
Allow your upper torso to rotate when you walk. Think about moving your left shoulder forward when bringing your right leg forward and vice-versa. Doing this will create a slight rotation in your spine, creating space and providing nutrients to the disks.
5. Focus with your eyes on the distant horizon
Keep your neck straight, head upright and look straight into the distant horizon. Don’t look at your feet while you are walking. Keeping a nicely aligned cervical spine will help improve overall posture.
There you have it.
So just walk the pain away.