The Ultimate Guide to Walking for Back Pain Relief

The Ultimate Guide to Walking for Back Pain Relief


Back pain sufferers can find it tough to get relief. But, walking has been known to be a great help. It reduces stress and tightness in the back. Plus, it strengthens and supports the muscles.

This guide covers how walking helps with back pain and tips on making the most of walks:

  • Reduces stress and tightness in the back.
  • Strengthens and supports the muscles.
  • Tips on making the most of walks.

Benefits of Walking for Back Pain Relief

Walking is often forgotten as a solution for back pain, but it can give genuine relief without the need for drugs or surgery. It’s a low-impact aerobic exercise that requires no special tools. It boosts blood flow to the lower back and hips, helping reduce stiffness and pain. Walking every day can help you stay a healthy weight, lessening strain on your back.

It also offers mental health benefits. Improving physical and mental health can cheer you up and help with back pain. Anxiety, depression and stress can increase back pain symptoms like stiffness, soreness and muscle tension.

Walking releases endorphins, the “feel-good hormone“. It helps with focus and clarity by giving an outlet for stress for those with anxiety or depression. The simple act of walking can do wonders for relieving stress, allowing people to focus on healing their bodies rather than their minds – making it a double benefit!

Pre-Walk Preparation

Back pain? Going for a walk can help. But first, there’s some preparation needed. To make sure you’re doing it right and safely, this section covers everything you need to do before you start your stroll.

Ready to ease your back pain? Let’s go!

  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  • Check the weather and dress accordingly.
  • Choose a route that is safe and free from obstacles.
  • Bring a water bottle and a snack.
  • Stretch before and after your walk.

Warm-up Exercises

Before a walk, it’s vital to warm up your body. Exercises like neck rolls, shoulder rolls, arm circles and ankle twists help reduce risk of injury, improve performance and general wellbeing. Here are some simple warm-up exercises to do before a walk:

  • Neck rolls: Chin to chest, then move each ear towards the opposite shoulder. Circle neck 3-4 times in each direction, keeping shoulders relaxed.
  • Shoulder rolls: Lift both shoulders up, hold for 2-3 seconds, then roll arms in a backward circular pattern 3-4 times in each direction. Repeat.
  • Arm circles: Stand shoulder width apart. Raise arms parallel to the ground, palms facing down; make small circles outward 5-6 times, then reverse direction. Stretch by raising one arm at a time.
  • Ankle twists: Stand at the edge of a step, feet hip width apart. Lower yourself so that one heel is off the step but still touching ground; twist ankle inward, then outward for 5 seconds on the same side. Repeat on the other ankle.


Before walking, it is vital to stretch your muscles and joints. This helps avoid injury. It’s best to do it when your muscles are warm. To achieve this, take a 10-minute walk or do some light aerobic activity like jogging on the spot.

Dynamic stretching involves bending and flexing your body parts through their full range of motion. This can loosen tight muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce stiffness. Examples include arm circles, leg swings, hip circles, and trunk rotations.

Static stretching targets tendons and ligaments not usually worked during exercise routines. It focuses on lengthening a particular muscle group, while holding the pose for 30 seconds. Examples include standing forward folds, hamstring stretches, chest opensers, and quadricep stretches.

Be aware of your own level of comfort with stretching. Take note of any tightness or discomfort when performing any type of stretch. Or, consult a physiotherapist or personal trainer if you need help with technique or posture alignment when preparing to walk, such as stretching or warming up.

During the Walk

Stroll around to help with back pain. Always keep your back straight and activate your core muscles. Walk at a pace that feels comfy. Make sure your feet have good contact with the ground when taking a step.

More tips? Here they are:

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle.
  • Take short strides.
  • Engage your glutes while walking.
  • Look forward instead of looking down.

Proper Posture

When walking, posture is key. It takes practice and mental focus, but it can help those with back problems.

  • Keep your back straight, don’t hunch your shoulders, and keep your head in a neutral position.
  • Look ahead and watch out for anything that could cause you to trip.
  • Your arms should swing naturally, and not cross over each other. This can cause pain and strain on your lower spine.
  • Your feet should be comfortable and supported. Wear shoes that fit well around the arch of your foot. Have good ankle support to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.


Pay attention to your shoes when you prepare for your walks. Best are shoes specially designed for walking. They give cushioning in the heel and arch, to reduce shock to your back. Go sockless if you can, as it stops friction, which causes blisters and calluses. Wear shoes that fit snugly but not too tightly and have arch support.

  • Change shoes daily if it’s possible.
  • New shoes should be worn in gradually, to stop strain on your back.
  • Waterproof shoes tend to be stiffer, so don’t wear them for long.
  • Check any special features that come with new shoes. They may be good or bad for your ankle, foot health, and back, depending on your gait cycle and biomechanics when you walk or run.


For back pain relief, walking pace is key. Don’t go too fast or too slow. Too fast and you won’t feel the benefits. Too slow and your heart rate won’t be up. So start at a moderate speed. Get into a comfortable rhythm. If it’s too tough, slow it down again. Gradually increase your pace every few days or weeks. Your goal is consistency, not speed. Find the stride rate that feels in control without overdoing it.

After the Walk

After your walk is done, it’s essential to take some time to chill. Do some stretches and breathing exercises to calm the mind and body. These activities can help alleviate muscle tension and back pain too.

Let’s explore what you should do post-walk:

Cool-down Exercises

Cool down after a walk! Try some of these options:

  1. Neck rolls. Roll each ear towards one shoulder 10x.
  2. Shoulder circles. Lift arms to ceiling and circle 5x clockwise and 5x anti-clockwise.
  3. Twisty aimer. Sit comfortably, right hand on left knee, twist torso until limit reached. Hold 15-20 seconds. Repeat twice.
  4. Overhead reach. Stand with feet hip width apart, arms wide, hold 20 secs, repeat 3 times.
  5. Cat/Cow yoga flows. On all fours, lift head to cat pose (spine arched.) Hold 10 breaths. Move to cow pose (spine arching down,) lift chin. Hold 10 breaths. Repeat 5x if needed.

Post-Walk Stretch

Post-walk stretching is key for back pain relief. Follow these steps after a walk:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a deep breath, reach down with flat palms, hold for 20 seconds, then slowly rise.
  3. Extend one arm up, grab it with other hand, and pull overhead. Feel the stretch in arms and shoulders. Hold for 15 seconds.
  4. Cross one foot in front, put arms behind at chest level, and push hands against each other while pulling towards opposite sides. Feel the stretch in the chest and upper body. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Stretching post-walk helps reduce tension in upper body muscles that contribute to back pain relief. No sudden movements or overexertion, which can lead to discomfort or injury.

Additional Tips

Take a walk for easing back pain! It can help reduce pressure on the spine and improve posture. Plus, it increases circulation and strengthens back muscles. Here are some tips to make your walking even better:

  1. Stand tall and maintain good posture.
  2. Swing your arms freely and use your whole body.
  3. Take smaller strides and stay aware of your balance and rhythm.
  4. Find a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery.

Listen to Your Body

Start with short walks. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Over time, increase your activity level. Look out for tightness or difficulty breathing. Too much activity can make symptoms worse.

Mix up terrain like sidewalks, dirt trails, grassy areas, or beach walking. Wear shoes with good grip.

Have good posture – spine lengthened, shoulders relaxed, pelvic tilt, chin down slightly.


Hydration is essential when exercising. Drink plenty of fluids, especially before and during warm-up or exercise. Bring a reusable water bottle with you and drink often throughout the day. Increase water intake during intense workouts or hot weather. Add electrolyte supplements such as Propel Electrolyte Water Packs to replace electrolytes lost through sweat. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before walking, as they can lead to dehydration.

Check Your Shoes

When starting a walking routine, wear supportive and comfortable shoes. Unfitting or old shoes can cause pain. When shopping for shoes, look for cushioning and shock absorption. This keeps your foot’s natural alignment and protects bones and joints.

Also, consider activity type when choosing shoes. For example, running, or power walking shoes. Specialized shoes help avoid injuries. Make sure the shoes are breathable, lightweight and can protect in wet weather. Replace sneakers every 300-500 miles for best performance and pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does walking help with back pain relief?

A: Walking strengthens the muscles in your back and improves your posture, which can help alleviate back pain. It also promotes circulation, which reduces inflammation and boosts the flow of nutrients to your muscles and joints.

Q: How often should I walk for back pain relief?

A: Aim to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you’re new to exercise, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase your walking time as your fitness improves.

Q: Are there any tips for walking with back pain?

A: Yes, make sure to wear supportive shoes, walk on flat surfaces, and maintain good posture by pulling your shoulder blades back and engaging your core muscles.

Q: Can I walk if I have a herniated disc?

A: Consult with your doctor first, but walking can be a low-impact exercise option for people with herniated discs. However, it’s important to start slowly and listen to your body to avoid aggravating your condition.

Q: Are there any other exercises that can complement walking for back pain relief?

A: Yoga and Pilates are great options for improving flexibility and strengthening your core muscles, which can help support your spine and prevent back pain.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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