5 important benefits to your lower back from walking
Many health professionals will recommend you to do more walking, as a low impact exercise it also happens to be very gentle on your back. So let's break down some of the benefits your spine can receive from incorporating walking into your day?
Increase blood flow to your legs and muscles around the spine.
Walking and movement increases circulation and fluid to the discs in your spine, which helps prevent dehydration of the discs. Furthermore this increased motion and hydration will help to prevent degeneration and the ageing process of the spine and discs.
Regain movement into your spine and increase flexibility.
Being sedentary for longer than 90 minutes at a time can be damaging to the spine and surrounding structures. It is important to move regularly during the day if you have a job that requires lots of sitting. Need tips on how to incorporate movement into your day? Read our related blog.
Walking helps improve posture.
The muscles of the torso and around the spine are used to maintain proper posture. They can atrophy, weaken and become inflexible when not used. Walking helps to maintain the strength in these muscles which helps to remain upright and prevents hunching.
Improve or maintain your daily activities
People with lower back pain who do not walk regularly are more likely to have limitations to their every day functioning. Simple tasks such as bending over to tie your shoe laces, picking something up off the ground or driving long distances can become difficult. Playing with your children or grandchildren, housework or gardening can become a struggle when we don't engage in sufficient walking on a daily basis.
Walking is a natural pain reliever.
Endorphins are one way of limiting your response to pain. They interact with the receptors in your brain and reduce our perception of pain similarly to how pain medication like morphine and codeine work. Regular and consistent walking releases endorphins and therefore help limit your experience of lower back pain as well as improve your mood. As you increase your distance and time walked the benefits will continue to improve.
If walking is painful, too difficult or strenuous, start with a lower impact exercise. Walking in a pool, riding a bike, an elliptical machine, cross trainer or rowing machine are great substitutes and can be just as effective.
If you’re concerned about starting please speak to your doctor or health professional. The benefits of regular walking are well known and you will notice the benefits as soon as you begin. Remember to continue to get the most benefit from walking to gradually increase the distance, speed or time spent walking.