Taking a walk a few times a week for 20 to 40 minutes is one of the best treatments for lower back pain, research finds.
Surprisingly, a leisurely stroll is as effective as following a dedicated muscle strengthening program, the study found.
Walks are easy to fit into everyday routines and require no specialist care or equipment — plus, they cost nothing.
The conclusions come from a study of 52 people with lower back pain who were randomised to either a muscle strengthening program or told to go for a few walks.
Those told to walk did so two to three times a week for six weeks.
They started at just 20 minutes each time and worked up to 40 minutes.
The results showed that both groups improved the same amount.
Dr. Katz-Leurer, study co-author, said the walking treatment was…
“…as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic.”
In fact, those in the walking group were able to walk further than the muscle strengthening group after treatment.
People who keep active regularly tend to suffer fewer aches and pains.
Walking also lowers blood pressure, boosts the brain and even reduces stress and inflammation in the body…
…and all without costing anything at all.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation (Shnayderman et al., 2012).