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North Miami Beach Chiropractor

Many people are taking stock of the goals they’ve set for themselves this year. One resolution you might find yourself making year after year is to “get healthy” or “lose weight”. An obvious and tangible way to work towards this goal is to amp up your exercise regimen. While it sounds simple enough, some people living with back pain might find this to be an impossible task. How are you supposed to run those laps, lift those weights, or take that fun new group class if you can barely get out of bed without aches and pains? Believe it or not, the answer is simple– start with a walk. It’s easy to see why becoming more active may be counterintuitive for someone in pain. However, for most people, walking is an amazing way to get the quality, low-impact exercise necessary to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine without exacerbating existing back pain.

Walking is a type of aerobic exercise, aerobic meaning “with oxygen”. Commonly referred to as “cardio”, the purpose of aerobic exercise is to build up cardiovascular and respiratory fitness by improving the ability of your body to carry oxygen to various other parts of the body. This means that over time, your heart will be able to move more oxygen-carrying blood with each beat, your lungs will adapt to taking in more oxygen, and your muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently. We really want to emphasize that last part when talking about back pain. When your muscles are not properly oxygenated, fatigue sets in much quicker, and even the smallest activity can lead to aches and pains. It is also important to note that the spine cannot support the weight of the human body alone, it relies on the surrounding muscles to share the burden. When these muscles are weak or imbalanced, they cannot effectively absorb impact from everyday stressors, instead placing the stress on the discs, vertebrae, and joints in your spine. Keeping these factors in mind, it stands to reason that without some consistent form of aerobic exercise, your back pain might actually get worse. 

At North Miami Beach Chiropractic Center, we recommend that our patients establish a regular walking routine before incorporating other forms of aerobic exercise like running, rowing, or biking. This is because walking delivers the same benefits as more strenuous exercises without the additional impact or jarring movements that can aggravate the structures of the back. Walking has been shown to strengthen the muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and torso, increasing spine stability by conditioning the muscles that keep the body upright. You’ll find that walking with proper form– head up and centered, eyes on the horizon, shoulders back, arms close to your sides and swinging front to back in pace with your legs, elbows at a 90-degree angle, hips leading the forward motion, and landing on the heel and midfoot then rolling to push off with the toes–  tones your muscles, improves your posture, and helps maintain a healthy weight. Add in some light stretching before and after your walk and you can take advantage of improved flexibility as well, allowing for a greater range of motion and further reducing your susceptibility to future injury.

If you suffer from back pain that keeps you from getting the exercise you need to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself, walking may just be the solution you’ve been searching for. Try to work your way up to 30-minute walks, 3-4 times a week, and feel the difference for yourself. Please, however, keep in mind that exercise walking is not for everyone and has the potential to exacerbate certain conditions. Make sure to talk to your chiropractor before beginning any workout regimen, as they may suggest other low-impact exercises more suitable for you and your needs. Most importantly, once you find what works for you, keep it up! Your body will thank you.

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