I'm sure some of you will have read the report this week by the British Chiropractic Association that almost 80% of us suffer back pain at some point in our lives with nearly a quarter suffering daily.
The problem isn't so much injury as our increasingly sedentary habits and lifestyle. We sit in front of a computer screen (82% of us for up to six hours); we drive instead of walk; we are overweight (in the UK two thirds of us are either overweight or obese); and we have increasingly frenetic and stressful lives which often manifests in neck, shoulder and ultimately back pain.
What to do? Well, get Nordic walking of course. This is why:
There are different sorts of back pain, the most common being lower back pain, upper back (and neck) pain and general all-over back stiffness. Nordic walking can help every one of these conditions for the following reasons:
- It improves your posture and your awareness of what good posture is and how to achieve it. Most of us tend to look down too much, round our shoulders and bend our heads forwards when we are sitting at our desks/at the computer/eating/driving. This puts immense stress on our necks and upper backs and pulls us completely out of alignment, often resulting in back pain. Nordic walking corrects this and helps re-educate your body to hold itself correctly, even when you are not Nordic walking.
- Nordic walking strengthens the deep abdominal (‘core’) muscles which protect your back and improve your balance and posture. Every time you plant the pole in the ground you engage these important muscles and the more firmly you plant the greater the workout.
- The more advanced Nordic walking technique gently rotates the spine, boosting circulation the whole way down and increasing oxygen and nutrients to the discs and vertebrae. This is immensely important and the benefit cannot be underestimated.
- Nordic walking is a powerful, bone-strengthening exercise and probably works all the muscles in your back (given that it works over 90% of the muscles in our body). It also strengthens the all-important glutes (buttock muscles) and pelvic floor, both of which play an important part in stabililising our bodies and supporting our backs.
- It is based entirely on the body’s natural walking pattern and is nurturing not jarring, like running.
If you already Nordic walk you will know the truth of the above points. If you do not already Nordic walk and have any sort of back pain I urge you to give Nordic walking a try.