Over 55s walking their way to a healthy spine


elderlyAs the danger of spending too much time in a sedentary position, staring at screens continues to make headlines across the world, specialists are warning that it’s not just the tech-obsessed young who are risking their health.

Research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has found that 56 per cent of people aged 55 and over agree that simply sitting still for too long has the most negative impact on their back health, acting as a trigger for 36 per cent of those who have experienced back or neck pain. With 27 per cent of people aged 55 and over suffering with back or neck pain saying they feel pain ‘every day’, the BCA is encouraging us to take the simple step of spending more time walking.

Chiropractor Tim Hutchful says: “As you continue to age it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and the sooner you commit to being more active the better. Consider taking up a new sport which will give gentle exercise whilst keeping you moving and flexible or, quite simply, start walking more! Injecting even a little more activity will provide immediate benefits and gives you the springboard to increase your activity according to your capabilities.”

The BCA has shared these top tips to help walk your way to a healthier back and neck:

  • Walk don’t run: Walking is less strenuous on the joints than other forms of exercise and is weight bearing therefore helping to maintain bone density.
  • Top up your daily routine: Adding just a few minutes walking to your daily routine could be of benefit. For example, walk to the shops instead of driving; try walking a little faster to boost the exercise benefit; take the stairs instead the lift.
  • Invest in walking poles: Walking poles help you to maintain an upright position and also keep your arms moving, increasing the health benefits and helping to maintain a good posture.
  • Keep hydrated: As you walk, it’s important that you top up your fluids as the body works better when well hydrated. Your muscles and joints will work more efficiently and for longer.
  • Walk heel to toe: Walking so your heel strikes the floor first and then pushing off your toes allows your foot to act as a shock absorber and helps to push you forwards.
  • Buy the right footwear: Make sure your shoes are flat, supportive and flexible.
  • Get outside: Walking in the sunshine can help to top up your vitamin D levels – which is good for your bones. Just remember to stay sun-safe and use sunscreen.