by Dr Ryan Hislop
Walking is a simple, free and easy activity with many benefits for health and general wellbeing. Walking regularly can improve heart and lung function, aid in weight-loss, and can also boost mood and energy levels, but did you know that walking can benefit your spinal health too?
Here are 4 benefits of walking for your spine:
- Increase circulation to the spine
Walking increases circulation, bringing the body into balance and increasing stamina as blood pressure is lowered by the increased circulation. The continual flow of blood ensures that nutrients make it to the spine and the surrounding soft tissues are nourished and enriched.The movement of blood through the body helps to nourish all of the muscles, making you stronger whilst also making it easier to exercise. Essentially, the more you walk, the easier it becomes.
- Helps rehydrate spinal disks
Our daily bodily movements cause compression on the spinal discs, squeezing out the discs’ water that provides cushion for the vertebrae. The increased circulation from walking helps to rehydrate the discs by moving water to where the discs can absorb it.
- Improves postural position
Poor posture is often the result of sedentary positions such as office work or extended use of computers and mobile devices. Poor posture places extra pressure on the spine which can lead to tension, soreness, headaches and back pain.Walking strengthens the body and helps position the spine in its upright natural shape. When walking properly you naturally adopt proper posture. Good posture allows you to breathe better and can help reduce fatigue and the other side effects associated with bad posture.
- Relieves spinal stress and back pain
Walking is a low impact exercise that assists in improving flexibility and mobility. Accompanied by a regimen of stretching, walking can help improve flexibility and lead to a better range of motion. Walking also aids in weight loss and weight management, which can help relieve the stress extra body weight causes the spine.The Australian Chiropractors Association has a great app “Just Start Walking” which can be downloaded on both Apple and Android which can map your walks and measure your time and pace as well as save your walks to share with your friends.