The Way You Walk Can Impact Back Health

There is a lot of talk about posture, how it affects our health, and for good reason. Over time, poor posture can contribute to a large number of health concerns, including diabetes, heart disease, and even depression. If you are aware of these problems, you may try to be cognizant of your posture when sitting for long periods. Perhaps using an ergonomic chair and sitting straight with your feet flat on the floor. While these are great habits to have, less consideration is given to how we walk. Yet, many are doing it improperly.

Just as many have a tendency to hunch when seated at a desk or table, there is also a tendency to slouch forward when walking. This is further compounded by the fact that we often walk while looking down at a device such as a cell phone. Many are also carrying heavy bags that tilt their weight to one side, and even more are wearing the wrong shoes. All of this can add up to some big back trouble. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to fix.

Proper Walking Posture

Maintaining proper walking posture all begins with the sternum. When the sternum is raised up and in, the rest of the body will fall into proper alignment. The spine will be straight and the shoulders back. Avoid looking down, as doing so puts excessive pressure on the spine. Instead, gaze at least 20 feet ahead as you walk.

Walking with Heavy Bags

As you begin to master the appropriate posture needed to walk with ease, help yourself along with the right bag and shoes. Too often, we carry bags that are too heavy or large. Oftentimes, the weight and design of these bags impede our arms from swinging properly as we walk. Going without a bag may be preferable, but of course, that isn’t always an option. If needed, opt for a messenger style that will not only allow your body to move more freely and naturally, but will also more evenly distribute its weight across the body.

Appropriate Footwear for Walking

When it comes to shoes, always opt for a supportive pair. You may not always be able to wear sneakers, which are the best bet, but you should certainly steer clear of heels when possible and any pair that require you to grip with your toes in order to keep them in place. Such shoes have a negative impact on the natural stride, which is to strike with the heel and then roll through the foot. While we understand that sometimes you’ll simply have to wear an attractive, albeit not ideal, pair of shoes, keep in mind that regular wear can lead to problems such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

Chiropractic Care for a Strong Back

In addition to taking these proactive steps to improve posture and walking, chiropractic care is among the strongest tools available to ensure back strength and to help avoid injury. Keeping the spine in proper alignment will help reduce inflammation and help patients maintain a greater range of motion. For those in the Gastonia or Belmont areas, SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers offers adjustments, acupuncture, massage, and more to help keep your body at its very best. To request an appointment at any of our centers, click the button below.