People who suffer from ongoing neck and back pain are always on the lookout for different methods to help them alleviate their discomfort. While exercise is a great way to stay fit and healthy, some movements and high-impact workouts can actually aggravate back pain. On the other hand, simple, low-impact exercises like walking have been shown to help reduce aches and pains in the neck and back.
Can Walking Help Relieve Back Pain?
The simple answer to this question is, yes, walking can help relieve back pain, but how, exactly? Let’s take a look!
Gets Your Heart Rate Going
A brisk walk is a great way to get your heart pumping, which encourages healthy circulation and blood flow in the body. As you walk, the movement facilitates consistent circulation that carries nutrients throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the soft tissues, joints, and spinal structures, all while draining out toxins that contribute to muscle fatigue, soreness, and stiffness. The result is often lowered pain levels and better overall movement.
Triggers An Endorphin Release
Walking gets your heart rate going, which also triggers an endorphin release. Endorphins are the body’s “feel-good” chemicals produced by the nervous system to help relieve stress and ease pain and soreness — naturally. By boosting your endorphins through a nice, vigorous walk, you can relieve pain and improve your mood to feel better overall. Remember, stress is one of the biggest contributors to aches and pains in the neck, back, and shoulders, so managing stress can also help relieve pain.
Strengthens Several Muscle Groups
Walking is one of the most effective ways to strengthen the muscles in all regions of the body. Because you are swinging your arms, holding a good posture, and really working the lower half of your body, you are strengthening the muscles in your core/torso and hips that support your spine, along with the muscles in your legs and feet. Moreover, you are improving the stability of your spine and supporting tissues that help keep your body upright, which helps with posture and spinal alignment. As a result, you can reduce the stress on your spine to prevent pinched nerves and other issues that trigger back pain.
Walking is a great way to not only strengthen your muscles, but to also keep them limber and flexible. When your muscles are tight, not only does it contribute to pain and discomfort, but tight muscles prevent comfortable, fluid movement. As we mentioned, walking encourages healthy circulation to transport nutrients to various tissues in the body, while at the same time, flushing toxins out. This combination works to loosen muscles and tension, thereby improving flexibility and improving range of motion for better movement.
Supports Healthy Joints
Movement is great for strengthening the joints in the body while also increasing your range of motion. Walking for about 30-45 minutes a day, or even three-to-five times a week, supports the healthy function of your joints in your ankles, knees, hips, and spine. In doing so, you may experience less pain in your back because your body is more balanced and you’re able to hold a better posture to keep pressure off of the spinal vertebrae and discs.
Helps Control Weight
Taking frequent, brisk walks is an effective way to control your weight. While it is considered a low-impact workout, walking is a cardiovascular exercise that can help burn calories to manage a healthy weight. Taking a 30-minute walk at least five times a week can help control weight around the midsection, which can really help alleviate back pain. What’s more, the movements you perform when walking work numerous muscle groups in the body, which contributes to stronger, healthier soft tissues.
Contact Your Trusted Woodbury Chiropractor
Walking is incredibly advantageous for your overall health and for the health of your spine. The best part is, you can walk pretty much anywhere without worry of coming into close contact with others while social distancing during COVID. If you can’t make it to the gym, you can always take a walk. Make walking a part of your daily routine and start taking the steps toward a healthier spine and a happier back!