When it comes to taking care of our backs, there’s already been a lot of talk about the importance of posture, especially when sitting. Since many people, especially those in white-collar jobs like office positions, can spend hours sitting in chairs, taking care to maintain correct posture for such extended periods makes sense.
However, there’s another equally important area where your posture can have a huge impact, even if it’s not for hours at a time. Walking is something that most of us do, but when we walk, we are constantly subjecting our legs and our spine to shock and impact. This is why it’s important to maintain a proper walking posture as well, or it could lead to back discomfort that will need treatment to address.
It’s trick in the 21st century when most of us are glued to our phones, but the position of your head while walking makes a big long term difference to your walking posture and subsequent back comfort. Ideally, you want to be looking straight ahead, approximately 20 feet ahead of you. Keeping your neck straight and your head in this position creates the optimal combination of posture and stress management for your neck muscles.
Of course, many people today don’t do this, and that’s because of our phones. Today, it’s far more common to see people not paying attention to their surroundings at all, with their heads bent down, intently consulting their phone. This, however, puts unwarranted stress on the neck, as well as impairing situational awareness. This can eventually lead to back pain.
The optimal position for walking is unencumbered, especially the arms. Natural, ideal walking involves the swing of the arms as you move forward. Of course, for many people walking completely unencumbered is often impossible. The needs of a career or even just obligations as a student often mean that laptops and other everyday accessories need to be carried commuting to and from certain destinations.
Where this can become a clinical problem is with weight. If someone carries too many heavy items in a single bag, on the shoulder, for example, this creates an imbalance in body weight that constantly needs to be compensated for with every step. If you do this over a long enough period, it can affect your back. It’s better to use backpacks or some other means of equal weight distribution.
Finally, good footwear is essential for optimal walking. High heels, while aesthetic, are harmful in the long run for foot and back health. Anything that forces you to use your toes for additional grip and stepping, rather than the ball of your foot will given enough time, affect both your posture and the health of your back.
Fortunately, even if it gets to the point where you’re regularly experiencing back discomfort, there are solutions, and we can provide them. Contact the Wellness Center of NY, and let us evaluate your back and have our experienced chiropractors readjust and realign your back to help restore your posture and relieve your back pain.