If you are like many people who suffer from back pains, you probably want just to sit and do nothing until the pain goes away. You fear that any physical activity may worsen the pain and increase your suffering. The good news is that walking can help you ease the pain as you walk towards your recovery journey.
Walking is easy and does not require any special training or equipment. However, the moment you make those strikes, more than 200 muscles spring into action, which is beneficial for your overall wellbeing. The following are some of the ways your back will benefit from walking exercises:
Leading an active lifestyle is essential, or else you end up stiff muscles and joints.
Stiffness in the lower back and hips increases pressure on the lumbar spine, thus altering the normal curvature.
Walking stretches the ligaments and muscles in the back, thus increasing their flexibility.
Walking activates specific muscles such as hip flexor muscles, erector muscles of the spine, and hamstrings. The flexibility of the spinal tendons and ligaments also boosts the overall range of motion in the lower back.
Walking is also beneficial if you want to lose that extra weight that puts a lot of pressure on your back.
Builds strong muscles
Walking is one of the few activities that give you all-inclusive and a full-body workout.
Movements and stability of your lower back depending on the muscles on your lower back, the core, and the trunk. A sedentary lifestyle can decondition these muscles and weaken them, leading to the spine’s misalignment. Muscular weakness, injury, fatigue, and pain builds over time.
Making strides requires muscles from every part of your body. The back muscles are also at work as they help you maintain an upright position. It is this muscular activity in the back that helps in recovery. Stronger muscles also mean that you will have lower instances of back pains as movements are coordinated.
Your body requires nourishment from the blood pumped from the heart—some of the disorders that we face as humans result from poor circulation. The small blood vessels on your spine can constrict with decreased physical activity. The blood flow to these spinal muscles also reduces, which causes discomfort.
The body is a chain of muscles, and the lower back is the centre link. Your legs and arms are always in motion, and they need blood circulation for this to happen. However, blood must pass through the spine (the lower back (before it reaches the arms and the legs. Regular walking boosts circulation, which eventually means that more blood and oxygen reach different parts of the body.
Muscles in the human body produce physiologic toxins as they expand and contract. These toxins accumulate in the lower back over time and cause stiffness. A simple walk in your neighbourhood can help increase circulation and flush these toxins away.
How to walk for a healthy back
You need to start small and then progress gradually if you want to benefit from walking exercises. Your body needs time to adapt to new routines. The following are some of the crucial steps:
- Start with 5-10 minutes’ walk. Do not expect to cover a kilometre when you are starting out. You can walk in your neighbourhood or even use an elliptical machine or a treadmill based on your needs and preferences.
- Try buoyancy walking. If walking is proving to be painful, then walking in a shallow pool can boost your efforts. The buoyancy of the water ensures that you do not struggle a lot, which eases your pain.
- Maintain the right posture. The posture you assume should not cause more pain. Your spine should curve naturally by keeping the shoulders relaxed and your head on top of the spine.
When to stop
Listening to your body will help you determine if you are on the right track or not.
Pay attention to how you feel whenever you take that walk. If your pain or pressure gets worse after a short or gentle walk, then this is an indication that you may require another approach.
The cause of your back pain will also determine the best physical exercise that suits your needs.
Walking comes with many benefits, as you can see from the above points. Back pains are the number one cause of disabilities, and you may not want to end in that root. If you do not see any improvement even after weeks of walking, you need to visit a board-certified back pain physician who will deal with the problem’s root cause.
Written by Brad Smith