Turn Walking into A Full Body Tonic
Walking is one of the most powerful ways you can influence your spinal health
Measured by total number of steps, Americans walk less than most other developed countries which is a problem when you consider that walking more is linked with weighing less. And keeping the weight down is one of the best things you can do for your spine! Not only does walking affect weight, but it also contributes to improved circulation, more muscle and better range of motion. All of these things are part of a holistic-health lifestyle that prevent the onset of spinal problems. So here’s our health challenge to you: can you add 2 minutes of walking per hour of being awake to your daily schedule? Start small in five minute increments and see if you can eventually reach 30 minutes per day of walking and you will feel noticeably better.
Turn walking into full-body exercise
Areas to focus on include:
- Stretching: few people think of stretching before or after going for a simple walk. But a few well-timed stretches maximize the benefit you will receive from a walk. In particular, stretching tight hamstrings will relieve the pull on the lower back.
- Footwear: Properly supportive footwear minimizes shock to the knees and joints in the lower back.
- Walk faster! Upping your pace increases the heart-health benefit, but a reasonable pace would be one where you can still carry on a conversation.
- Posture: Remain upright, with your head balanced atop the spine, shoulders back and relaxed and the stomach pulled in, supporting the spine. This also engages the abdominal muscles giving you a light but effective work out in the core. Make sure your strides land with your feet flat under your hips.
Walking is not a panacea. But walking for just thirty minutes a day while focusing on minimizing the pressure on your spine from factors like footwear and posture, can be an indelible benefit for your well-being. Remember that everyone is starting from a different vantage point; if you need help designing a plan to account for the health of your spine, give our office in Milpitas a call and let’s get started today!