Our Stoke chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic are often asked by patients what is the best form of exercise for them to improve their health and wellbeing. Of course, the answer depends on the patient’s individual situation. However, there is one specific form of exercise that is appropriate for many people, that is often overlooked, which our chiropractors recommend.
Not only does this form of exercise offer many overall health benefits it is also beneficial for back health.
So what is this form of exercise, which offers so many health benefits, is low impact, simple to do and free?
It’s walking. Yes, that’s right, putting one foot in front of another! Something as simple as taking a brisk walk every day can make a difference to your overall health and the health of your back.
Our Stoke chiropractor shares, in this post, the many benefits of walking and specifically how walking can improve back health. Our chiropractor also covers how to maximise the benefits of walking for better health and a healthier back.
The Many Benefits Of Walking
It really is surprising how many health benefits can result from something as simple as taking a daily brisk walk. Some of these benefits include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight and losing body fat
- Improving cardiovascular fitness
- Preventing and managing various health conditions such as: heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthening bones and muscles and improving muscle endurance
- Improving balance and coordination
- Increasing energy levels and improving mood
- Reducing stress and tension
The benefits achieved will, of course, depend on the frequency, pace and distance that is walked. However, the important step is to get started, make walking a daily routine and build up pace and distance over time, turning your normal walk into a purposeful fitness stride with good technique.
How Walking Can Improve Your Back Health
As has been covered, walking is often recommended by our chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke, as our chiropractors know how beneficial it can be for the health of our patients’ backs and overall health.
There are many ways that walking can help improve back health including by:
Walking engages all the muscles which keep the body upright. This includes the core, leg and back muscles. As the intensity of the pave and frequency of walking increases, these muscles become stronger and more capable of supporting the spine.
One of the most common causes of back pain is poor posture. Poor posture can place a significant amount of strain on the back.
Having a good walking technique is important and requires good posture. When walking with good technique you should look as follows:
- Head up and looking forward and not at the ground
- Neck, shoulders and back relaxed
- Back straight with stomach muscles slightly tightened
- Arms swinging freely with a slight bend in the elbows
- A smooth walking action, rolling foot from heel to toe
Contributing to weight loss
Carrying too much weight, especially around the mid-section place additional strain on the lower back and can result in lower back pain. Walking can help to burn calories and help to lose that extra tummy weight, and in turn lessen the load on the lower back.
Improving flexibility and range of motion
Before and after taking any form of exercise, including walking, it is important to stretch to prevent injuries. Stretching, combined with walking, can lead to improvements in terms of flexibility and range of motion. Improving flexibility and range of motion can make it easier to perform day-to-day activities and can reduce the risk of back injuries.
Improving bone health
Many studies have found that walking can improve bone density and reduce bone loss.
Bone responds to exercise in the same way as muscle, gradually becoming stronger over time.
Nourishing the spine
A healthy spine depends on good blood circulation. This is essential to deliver nutrients to the soft tissues in the spine and remove any toxins. Walking improves blood circulation which in turn will help nourish the spine and help keep it healthy.
Maximising The Health Benefits Of Walking
Before you start any new form of exercise, check with your GP, chiropractor or other healthcare professional to make sure that the exercise you have planned is appropriate for you specific needs, fitness level and overall health.
If undertaking daily walking is appropriate for you, our Stoke chiropractor has included ways to maximise the benefits of walking.
Invest in a high-quality pair of walking shoes
Let’s admit it nothing stops a walk quicker than blisters and painful feet! Investing in a pair of high-quality walking shoes or trainers before getting going will be a wise investment. Choose a pair of shoes or trainers that provide proper arch support, have a firm heel and thick, flexible sole. A good pair of walking shoes should cushion your feet and absorb shock.
Maintain good posture
As has been covered above, having a good walking technique is important and requires good posture. When walking be sure to bring your attention to your walking technique and how you look and that it follows the guidelines outlined above.
Incorporate walking into you daily routine
The aim is to build up the pace and frequency of your walking so that you are taking at least a 25-minute walk, 5 to 7 times a week.
As has been said, the first step is to start and then make a habit of it. When you start pace yourself and be sure to perform stretches before and after to prevent injuries. As you progress you can increase the pace of your walking, the distance you cover and frequency of your walks.
Incorporate ‘interval’ walking
To build up your pace try ‘interval’ walking. This involves short periods of high intensity walking followed by longer periods of slow walking. Try 1 minute intervals of fast walking followed by 2 minutes of slower walking to begin with and go from there.
Add some obstacles
As your fitness level and strength improves, consider making your walks more challenging by walking up or down hills. Increasing the level of intensity of your walking can increase how many calories you burn during each walk.
Use hand weights
You can also increase the intensity of your walk by carrying extra weights such as hand weights. Hand weights can also help with strengthening the arms, shoulders and upper back.
In summary, walking is a great form of exercise and shouldn’t be overlooked as an option to improve your fitness levels, overall health and the health of your back.
Visiting City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke
If you are suffering back pain, our highly trained and caring staff are here to take care of you. Our experienced team of chiropractors pride themselves on offering safe, effective and affordable treatment to patients of all ages. To book an appointment with one of our chiropractic team, call our clinic on 01782 848 184 or you can book your appointment online on our website here.