Friday, October 28, 2005


Back Pain? Walk it off!

I've been saying it for years and a study in the American Journal of Public Health backs me up: if you're suffering from chronic low back pain, get on some good walking shoes and go for a brisk walk (with my caveat: avoid the concrete sidewalks and malls and head for the GRASS).

The study of 681 men and women found that people with back pain who exercised the most -- the equivalent of about 3 hours of brisk walking or similar activity -- had the greatest reductions in back pain and psychological stress. (On a scale of 1-10, the average pain was about a 7). The more people exercised, in fact, the less disability they experienced.

My advice? If your back hurts, walk. Walk on the side that hurts the most instead of shifting all the weight to the other side/leg. The hurting side needs to get moving, needs to strengthen itself. And make sure you're wearing GOOD walking shoes with good support. Walking in the grass (the way humans are designed to walk) forces you to pick up your legs and use your hips/knees/pelvis the way they're supposed to move. Walking on concrete just stresses you out.

So get up...and get going!

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