Go for a walk to ease chronic pain
March 5, 2021
It doesn’t cost a thing. It doesn’t require a thing (except a good pair of sneakers), and you can do it whenever you like. Walking is a great exercise for everyone, but did you know it can have significant benefits for those who suffer from chronic pain conditions?
At least 40 minutes of physical activity, five days a week could help improve many conditions. Walking will improve your circulation, strengthen your bones, improve your sleep, improve your mood, help you maintain a healthy weight, and more.
Tips for walking when you have chronic pain
The natural inclination of many is to think that movement, including walking, will worsen pain. The opposite is actually true. When you do not move your joints and use your muscles, pain often becomes worse. Gentle exercise like walking can help alleviate pain.
It’s pretty easy to go outside and get started, but remember these tips first to help you establish a walking workout routine to improve chronic pain.
Talk to your health care professional.
You do need to talk to your doctor at Southside Pain Specialists or your physical therapist just to make sure you are cleared for walking regularly. This is always recommended when starting a new exercise regimen.
Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes.
A good pair of walking shoes is essential. They should fit appropriately and support your feet and legs during exercise. Walking sneakers should have good arch support and a slightly raised heel that adds extra support and prevents wobbling while walking. Many shoe stores have professionals available to help you find the right fit.
We recommend starting your walk slowly, then work your way up to a more brisk pace as you feel you are able. This will help prevent any possible injuries, especially when you are just starting out.
Watch your breathing and heart rate.
A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to carry on a conversation while walking. Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. While your heart rate should be elevated somewhat to gain cardiovascular benefits, if you’re not able to talk, decrease the intensity of your walking.
Focus on your posture.
Maintaining good posture while walking is important. Your toes should point straight ahead, your head should be up, your back straight, and abdominal muscles engaged. Bend your elbows at a ninety-degree angle, and swing your arms with each step.
Drink plenty of water.
It’s really important to stay hydrated to prevent headaches and more, especially if you are walking in hot weather. You may need to carry a water bottle with you and take breaks to rest and replenish fluids.
Try out different routes and other ways to keep it interesting.
While walking is a great activity, sometimes people do complain of boredom. Varying your walking route will help, and if you’re ready for it, try to incorporate hills or terrain changes. Many people love listening to music or podcasts while walking, and walking with a friend always adds interest through conversation.
Walking is one of the least expensive and easiest forms of exercise. All you really need is clearance from your doctor, a pair of sneakers, a place to walk, and the motivation to begin. Once you establish a great walking routine, you can modify the length and intensity of your walks. Walking becomes a huge part of life for many with chronic pain; see if it’s the next step in pain management for you!
Start your pain management journey by scheduling an appointment at Southside Pain Specialists
With highly specialized training and a multitude of pain relief options, Southside Pain Specialists follow the standards of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, The American Board of Pain Medicine, and the International Spinal Injection Society. We work hard to provide patients with comprehensive, caring pain relief when they need it most. Check out our website or contact us today at 205.332.3155 to learn more.