Does Walking Reduce Pain?

Even though walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise for most people, it is also one of the most overlooked. Perhaps because most of us walk every day, we don’t see it as an effective form of exercise.

Does Walking Reduce Pain?

And yet, if you are experiencing pain for various reasons (arthritis, a lack of flexibility in your muscles, including your lower back, sciatica), walking can bring some relief.

There are many benefits to walking and reasons as to why it can reduce pain, so let’s examine these here.

Walking helps your back muscles

If we are on the sofa or at our desks most of the time, our spine alignment can suffer. The muscles in our back start to weaken, and over time you might experience an increase in pain, weakness, and fatigue. If you have a back injury, you might notice it getting worse.

Here’s how walking specifically helps your back muscles:

Walking increases blood flow.

If we aren’t physically active, our blood vessels can constrict, which reduces blood flow to the muscles. When you walk, you are opening up your blood vessels, increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your organs and your muscles. Stronger back muscles are better able to support your spine, and therefore your pain can lessen.

Walking helps our body release toxins.

The body stores toxins that are released when our muscles contract and expand and these toxins build up over time in our muscles unless we do something to improve our flexibility. These toxins often cause stiff muscles.

Note: If you want your walking to be even more effective at flushing out toxins, you might consider using some resistance bands to improve your flexibility. You can warm up with booty bands using a short series of gentle exercises before walking or stretching exercises with them after your walk.

Walking helps your leg muscles

It’s probably obvious that walking helps strengthen your leg muscles – but did you know that walking also helps increase flexibility?

The muscles in your back need a workout to stay strong and supple, and the same goes for your leg muscles. If you experience any stiffness or pain in your legs, walking can help stretch the muscles and ligaments.

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    When you walk, your spinal ligaments and tendons become more flexible, improving your range of overall motion. This improvement happens not only for your legs but also for your back, particularly the lower back.

    Walking can ease joint pain

    Many people who suffer from osteoarthritis find that walking helps ease their joint pain.

    Because walking improves circulation and flexibility, your joints receive added support from the surrounding cartilage and muscles.

    And because walking helps people lose weight, many find that even losing a small amount of weight can ease joint pain. Extra pounds put more stress on joints that are already painful, so you can make a big difference to how you feel by slimming down. Many people experience less pain as well as reduced stiffness in their joints.

    Walking also helps improve the range of motion in your joints which you need to keep moving. All of those daily movements that we take for granted are easier to do when we walk regularly.

    Another reason walking can help ease the pain is that walking helps the body produce more endorphins. Endorphins are natural hormones that inhibit pain, so the more endorphins we have, the lower our overall pain perception. Walking is actually a very effective way to relax.

    Some tips for reducing pain while walking

    If you haven’t been doing much exercise, be sure to consult your health professional before you begin.

    Here’s how you can get started:

    • Start with short daily walks and then gradually increase the time. You may want to begin with a 5 or 10-minute walk. If you prefer to use a treadmill or another machine, do that.
    • If you find walking painful, try walking in a swimming pool. The water’s buoyancy can help with any pain, and the resistance of the water will work your muscles quite effectively yet gently.
    • Ensure your posture is correct while you walk. Relax your shoulders and keep your gaze straight ahead rather than down at your feet. Check with your health professional if you have concerns about your posture.
    • If you wish, you can enlist the help of a physical therapist or trainer (certified) who can come up with a plan for you. They can also help ensure your form is correct and suggest stretches to protect your joints.
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    Does Walking Reduce Pain? — Bike Hacks