Regaining strength in your back after surgery doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal. Even if you’re just seeking to improve the overall comfort of your back, something as simple as a brisk walk or using a treadmill helps minimize your back pain. Whether your goal is rehabilitation or maintaining your back’s strength, walking for exercise can help you in countless ways.
Aerobic exercises such as walking have proven time and again to help reduce lower back pain. Since the level of severity varies from person to person, you should always consult your doctor before deciding to incorporate light exercise into your daily routine.
And don’t forget to stretch before you walk. Gentle stretching prepares your joints and muscles for the increased range of motion they’re about to encounter, especially important when you’re already experiencing back issues.
The Benefits of Walking for Exercise
Most everyone can walk for exercise. You can fit it into your day in many ways. No special equipment is needed. All you need is a comfortable, supportive pair of walking shoes that fit you properly. You only need a treadmill if your doctor determines that you’re at a greater risk of falling. No matter how you do it, the ways that walking benefits your back include:
- Strengthening your muscles, specifically in your hips, torso, feet and legs
- Nourishing the structure of your spine
- Improving your flexibility and posture
- Strengthening your bones and decreasing the loss of bone density
- Helping you keep your weight under control
Keep good form when walking for exercise to reap the optimum benefits of this light aerobic work-out. Avoid slouching and keep your head and shoulders comfortably upright. Keep your abdominal muscles tight to strengthen your core, which in turn supports your spine. Doing this ensures that you benefit from all the perks of walking for exercise.
Look for ways that walking for exercise can be incorporated into your day or simply be made more enjoyable for you:
- Take your dog for a walk. If you don’t own a dog, then you could ask a friend if you can join them when walking their dog.
- Listen to music. An upbeat tune can make it easier and more enjoyable to keep pace.
- Walk while you wait. Early for an appointment, date, outing, or even an airline flight? Take the opportunity to take a short walk instead of sitting around.
- Schedule walks during your workday. Make reminders in your calendar to take short walking breaks to get your energy up throughout the day.
- Park spots that are further away from the entrance to get a few extra steps.
- Take the stairs. Whether going up or down the stairs, every step counts.
After setting a walking routine for yourself or simply fitting some of these tips into your day to encourage more exercise, you’ll begin to notice positive changes in the health of your back. If you have back pain, stable walking maintains or even enhances your ability to complete everyday activities that back pain makes more difficult. Talk to your doctor to be sure that walking is an acceptable exercise for you and reap the benefits of walking for exercise one step at a time.