Friday, 6 February 2015

#5Stepping Part 2: Stepping Out!

The second step to a healthier, wealthier you is almost as simple as the first: keep drinking the water… and start taking some steps – and more than just five of them!

Once upon a time when, if you wanted to get somewhere, walking was most likely the only option.  As hunter-gatherers, most days would have probably involved walking ten to twelve miles, presumably with days off if a mammoth had been bagged recently.  Then someone invented the wheel, domesticated oxen to pull them, bred horses to pull them faster and discovered how crude oil could be refined to make them go with a bang.  These days, few people even manage ten miles per week.

One of the commonest questions from our patients recovering from low back pain is ‘are there any exercises I should do’.  Because low back pain is a symptom with many possible causes, there is, of course, no such thing as a ‘low back pain exercise’; however, for the commonest forms of low back pain, sitting is often aggravating and moderate walking on firm surfaces can be very beneficial.

This is why our clinics have all been promoting @getGBstanding – check out their website (, there’s a great calculator there, which shows you how many hours a day you’re sitting and a huge section on the health risks of sitting more than four hours per day… and I bet you do!!

For people who don’t have back pain, walking five miles a day, can be a very good way of ensuring you stay that way – it is also helpful for your weight, heart, lungs, metabolism, digestion, joints and bones. 

So, given the ease with which it can be done and the multiple benefits, why does the average adult walk only a tenth of that … just half a mile per day?

The answer is largely lifestyle driven, with ‘driven’ being the operative word: we drive to work, we drive to the shops, we sit at computers all day, and then we drive back home in the evening (unless we’re going out, in which case we drive there).

But, as with the first step, small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference – try some of these simple tricks to get up to your five miles a day:

  • ·     Take a leisurely walk with your spouse, child, or friend
  • ·      Window shop
  • ·      Walk the dog – or borrow someone else’s dog to walk
  • ·      Park at the far end of the car park
  • ·      If it’s less that a mile, leave the car and walk
  • ·      Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • ·      Put the TV remote control in the drawer
  • ·      Join a walking group
  • ·      Get into the garden
  • ·      Get up from your desk and walk 100 metres once an hour
  • ·      Play outdoors with the kids
  • ·      Take your phone calls standing up (and pace importantly).

Not only will you feel better, but you could save over £1000 per year in transport costs!

If you have any health concerns seek advice from a healthcare professional prior to starting or changing your exercise routine.

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