Manual Handling in the NorthWest with Francis Connor, Osteopath

Walking is a wonderful activity get you outside, you can walk with friends or local walking groups, In Bolton you can check out ‘let’s keep Bolton moving #LKBM they have lots of ideas and group posts, walking really is a great exercise.

Did you know it’s also great for your back?

To get the most out of walking there are a few things to consider….

How you walk can help or irritate you back and this comes down to how you do it.

Have you ever noticed that walking with purpose somewhere doesn’t irritate your back but shopping does? And it’s not an excuse to get out of shopping (unless it works) as we slouch and meander like a sulky child this simply places different tensions onto the body, particularly the spine, shoulders and lower limbs.

So how do we sort this out?…

Here’s a few top tips to help you get the best out of your walking.

1) Stand up straight and engage the body as it should be, it may tire you out quicker than you think but it places less stress on the spine.

2) Don’t spend the time looking down, this encourages the shoulders to drop and places the neck under tension, you also see less of the walk, so look ahead and enjoy the view.

3) Shrug and Roll-back the shoulders, this helps with posture and can stop those shoulders rounding.

4) Swing the arms, I don’t mean like the military guard, though I have to say I was incredibly impressed by the military during King Charles Coronation, but a more relaxed action that creates movement that helps to mobilise the spine.

5) To help you walk upright or if you are achy in the upper body, use walking sticks (see our resource section on the website for idea’s). Use two and use them to drive down a little to keep the upper body engaged and upright.

6) Use the appropriate footwear, I have a pair of Meindl Burma boots, over 15 years old and though they are coming to the end of useable life (probably get relegated to garden footwear), they were the most comfortable boot I have ever had. I will be replacing them, hopefully getting another 15+ years out of them and probably the same or newest version.

7) Last but not least if you have any injuries or niggles get them resolved, issues like Back-Pain, Achilles Tendinopathy, Plantar Fasciitis, Knee pain and Flat Feet can be treated, rehabilitated and often resolved. Don’t let them stop you!

Comment and post any walks or locations you have been to, it’s great to share great walks.

Keep Well, Stay Active


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