Without a doubt, the benefits of walking for lower back pain makes it the number one lower back pain exercise. You seldom think of walking as an important exercise when it comes to battling lower back pain.
The reason why you may avoid walking, when you have lower back pain, is
because you associate pain with any type of movement. Sometimes even
small steps may feel impossible.
However, the truth is that pain is seldom increased or substantially aggravated by walking. On the contrary, more often than not, lower back pain is lessened or relieved by walking.
The benefits of walking far outweigh any temporary soreness or discomfort due to initiating any walking program.
Unless you have radicular or radiating pain ,walking should be encouraged. Pain from a pinched nerve, such as sciatica, that is made worse by weight-bearing should not be further compressed by walking.
If your pain is gradually increasing over time with walking, it is best to avoid walking as a low back pain exercise. When your sciatica or radicular pain and symptoms have subsided sufficiently to permit pain free walking, you may then start or resume your walking to enable you to achieve the benefits of walking.
Chronic low back pain, without nerve compression symptoms, is not an excuse to avoid walking or not including it as one of your exercises for lower back pain.
Your spine, particularly your lumbar spine, with its associated muscles, discs, joints and ligaments are extremely dependent on motion for their health, maintenance and repair.
Motion is not only an integral part of health, it is essential for life.
The World Health Organization defines health as: " the state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease." The two words "optimal physical" means the maximum possible body structure and function (motion).
A sedentary, or inactive, lifestyle does not fit the definition of "...optimal physical...well-being." A sedentary lifestyle promotes dysfunction, degeneration and disease.
Your level of health, and life in general, can be measured by your level of motion.
Because your spinal discs lack adequate blood supply, they must rely on motion to absorb essential nutrients for repair and maintenance of health. Removal of waste or by-products of cellular metabolism is also dependent on motion.
The effects of bending, twisting and turning on your discs are similar to that of squeezing a sponge. Squeezing a sponge forces fluid out and releasing the squeezing causes fluid to be absorbed.
The squeezing motion of bending, twisting and turning of your trunk forces waste products of metabolism from the disc. Returning to a normal position, thereby relaxing the increased tension of the disc, results in absorption of fluid containing needed nutrients for cellular repair, maintenance and health. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of walking as it pertains to your lower back.
Without regular motion this repetitive squeezing and relaxing of the discs will hinder the normal exchange of disc fluid and will promote a weaker and unhealthy disc. It is a difficult task for the disc to perform this function even with regular activity. It is almost an impossible task to perform if you are sedentary.
The more and the longer you build and maintain the strength, integrity and health of your discs the longer they will continue to serve your needs throughout your life
If you are a low back pain sufferer it is imperative that you address or correct any structural imbalances before you initiate a low back exercise walking program.
You must analyze and correct any deficits found from the list below:
At first you will start out slow and steady. As you become conditioned and more fit you can increase the speed but try to stick to the time recommended in the chart.
In 12 weeks, you should be able to walk for one hour and cover a distance of 4 miles.
Make it a priority to follow this schedule and keep it fun.
This schedule is such that anyone should be able to follow it with little difficulty to enable you to reach the tremendous benefits of walking.
Here is a walking schedule (click here). When you reach your 12 week goal try to extend your walking for a full 60 minutes. Or you can do two 30 minute walking sessions per day.
Make sure you include walking in your list of low back pain exercises.