Walking is one of the best exercises you can do to help reduce or eliminate neck or back pain. Almost everyone walks, so it should be a pretty simple task to master, right? Did you know there’s actually a correct way to walk? It’s true. There is a proper way to put one foot in front of the other, and shuffling or clomping around aren’t recommended methods.
If you are walking incorrectly, you actually may be hindering your success. As you set out to walk your neck and back pain away, follow these guidelines:
Walk heel to toe: Heel-to-toe walking is the natural pattern. Some don’t employ this tactic, though, when strolling along the sidewalk. Some walk with a flat foot – the clompers – and others forget to lift their feet – the shufflers. Avoid these two methods of walking by taking a few minutes to evaluate your technique.
Look forward: Keeping your eyes forward when you walk is probably one of the best things you can do for your back. Looking forward as you walk will help improve your posture and relieve unneeded pressure on your spine.
Swing your arms: As you walk, gently swing your arms back and forth. Make sure you aren’t swinging from your elbows, rather swing from your shoulders. The swinging motion helps to decrease pressure on your spine. Don’t over swing your arms.
Pace yourself: Walk at your own pace. Keep in mind, though, that a brisk pace helps to reduce stress on the spine. A slow walk tends to increase pressure on your back. Don’t feel like you have to run a marathon to benefit your back. The important thing to remember is to keep moving regardless of your pace. Little or slow movement is always better than no movement.
For the sake of your back, employ proper walking techniques. Walking and staying active may help save your spine from painful conditions. As always, consult your physician before starting a new routine if you have severe neck and back pain.