People with ongoing or recurrent episodes of lower back pain should consider the benefits of walking as a low-impact form of exercise. Aerobic exercise has long been shown to reduce the incidence of lower back pain. However, people with low back pain often find some forms of exercise too painful to continue, and therefore don't get the exercise they need to maintain good health. Exercise walking is one way to benefit from regular exercise while not aggravating the structures in the lower back.
For some back conditions, walking will aggravate or cause too much pain to be bearable. For these patients, other low-impact exercise may be advisable, especially water therapy (pool therapy such as aqua-jogging or deep water aerobics.) The body's buoyancy reduces compression on the lower back, allowing for more pain free movement.
It has long been known that there are many inherent health benefits from a regular routine of exercise walking, such as:
- Strengthens muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and torso.
- Nourishes the spinal structures—actually helps to diminish or prevent spinal decay or arthritis.
- Improves flexibility and posture—exercise walking along with regular stretching allows greater range of motion; helps prevent awkward movements and helps prevent future injury.
- Strengthens bones and reduces bone density loss—regular walking for exercise helps prevent osteoporosis and can aid in reducing osteoarthritis pain.
The benefits of a regular walking program along with other forms of exercise are considerable. Please e-mail my office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate in our new walking club (The Road Not Taken-A Walking Community) described in our blog from last week. Its a fun, safe and friendly way to exercise and have better health.