March 28, 2020 | Lauren Tortorici, DC
Walking is something we recommend to almost all of our patients. Research shows that there are numerous health benefits of walking, and it is a safe activity for people who are experiencing pain. Here are some of the reasons why walking is one of our favorite exercises to recommend to our patients.
The Risks of Inactivity After Injury
Decades ago, doctors used to tell patients to rest when they were injured. Bed rest was commonly prescribed for back pain, and people were told to stay off their feet if they were suffering from an ankle or knee injury. Today we know that inactivity is actually harmful for our bodies when we are trying to heal. It slows down and impairs the healing process, and it can lead to increased risk of re-injury down the road.
Walking As A Safe Form of Exercise
While inactivity is dangerous for healing, overactivity comes with its own risks. It’s important to find the right stretches and exercises that will help to decrease your pain and enhance the healing process. This is why it is so important to see a chiropractor or other healthcare practitioner when you injure yourself. Determining which activities are helpful and which activities are harmful is a crucial part of treatment. It can make the difference between fully healing as quickly as possible or setting yourself up for a chronic condition that will linger and continue to affect you over time. While most of the exercises we give our patients are specific to their particular condition, walking is an exercise that is beneficial for almost everyone. As a low-impact activity, walking is a safe form of exercise for most muscle and joint conditions.
How Long Should You Walk?
How long you should walk varies from person to person. If you are a typical healthy person who isn’t experiencing any acute pain or injury, 30 minutes of brisk walking per day is a great goal. If you are experiencing pain, then you may want to aim for 10-15 minutes at a time and work your way up from there. If you are unsure of how long you should walk for, just ask us! We’re always happy to offer advice, especially when it comes to helping our patients start or resume an active lifestyle.
Other Health Benefits of Walking
Aside from promoting healing after an injury, walking offers numerous other health benefits. Studies show that regular walking improves cardiovascular function, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, reduces body fat, increases bone density, and decreases pain associated with osteoarthritis. Studies also show that spending more time outdoors is associated with decreased stress levels and increased feelings of wellbeing. The fact that walking promotes overall health while being accessible for most people makes walking one of our favorite exercises.
If you’re injured or are experiencing pain, please contact our office to learn more about how we can help.