April 17, 2016 - Mike Dilke
Everyone knows someone with a bad back or has one themselves. David Mitchell in his autobiography, Back Story, says how other people’s back pain is boring and then goes onto write a whole book about his. Actually that is a bit unfair as he talks about plenty of other stuff and he is very funny.
He says that ‘Someone told me that walking was the best way to fix my bad back - and it did work, it completely sorted my back out.’ He also lost a lot of weight by walking so while you may not end up being on numerous talk shows you could alleviate your bad back and get slimmer.
Walking strengthens your muscles including those in your feet, legs, hips and torso along with the back muscles that hold you upright. Stretching and then walking will improve your back's flexibility, range of motion and posture, which can help prevent future back pain or reduce its severity. Walking also stimulates the release of endorphins, which reduce back pain.
Being a bit more active might be good for the NHS as well as inactivity is estimated to cost it £1.8bn a year treating the health problems resulting from a sedentary lifestyle.
A lot of us don’t move much at work at our desk bound jobs (I am writing this at a standing desk but I am standing still!) This year a new scheme called Fit for Work is being rolled out across England, Wales and Scotland to offer employers access to a free occupational health service for staff who are on long-term sick leave - half of the workforce don't currently have access to one.
Employees are being encouraged to do their bit by getting involved with the, Public Health England endorsed, Workplace Wellbeing Charter. This asks them to take steps such as encouraging physical activity in the workplace and offering healthy foods and snacks.
So back to how to get walking a bit more. The Public Heath England One You campaign was recently launched. This covers all sorts of things but it has ways of teaming up with other people who want to go walking via this website.- https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder
If you want to go walking with other people who have the main objective of helping their back pain a good start would be contacting the local groups of the BackCare charity.
If you have tried walking and want to go for a gentle run then Parkrun could be the thing for you. This organisation arranges for literally hundreds of 5km runs in parks throughout the UK and cater from very gentle jogs to a good paced run. It is great fun and a good way to start your week-end.
So whatever you do - be it a gentle walk with a like minded group or a bit of jog just remember to keep moving. If you are worried about being too sedentary while in the office then have a look at this for some ideas to keep moving.