World Spine Day 2016 [Free Event for You]
The theme for World Spine Day 2016:
“Straighten Up and Move”
We know that exercise is supposed to help back pain.
Common recommendations are things like
- gentle stretching
Maybe you felt some benefit from these activities – yet you’re still prone to tension and back pain in everyday life.
I used to struggle with a tense, sore back every day.
In my experience, exercise is the way to go.
To really lose some of that pain and stiffness however, It’s important to train smarter rather than harder.
So for the Back Pain Liberation World Spine Day 2016 Event we’re going to take the first one on the list and see if we can do it better.
Wherever you are on October 16th, it’s easy to join in.
Although we may be in different parts of the world, let’s take a walk together.
How to Walk with Focus and Relax Your Stiff Back
It’s not just what you do. Just as important is how you do it.
Most of us don’t think much about walking – generally we just do it on autopilot.
Meanwhile the mind is somewhere else completely.
It can be turning over a problem at work, what to have for dinner, bills to be paid. Any one of a hundred things. Life.
This simple exercise works far better though, if you can avoid all this mental chatter and internal noise. Focus your attention on the here and now.
By walking with focus we can straighten up posture, get the system moving and allow tense muscles to relax.
First Things First – Straighten Up
- Stand with your feet around shoulder width apart, weight on both feet.
- Imagine that your head is a helium balloon, floating up towards the sky, lengthening and straightening the spine.
- Relax the knees, hips and ankles. Let the arms hang without tension from the shoulders.
- Breathe deeply, all the way down to the abdomen.
Now Get Focused
Take a few moment to become aware of the sensations in your body
Feel the weight pressing down through the soles of the feet and into the ground. Let the soles of your feet relax.
Feel the abdomen expand as you breathe in and contract as you breathe out.
At the same time maintain awareness of your surroundings
What can you see in front of you and in your peripheral vision?
What are the sounds and smells?
If there are people around you may feel self-conscious. Don’t worry, all they will see is someone standing tall with good posture!
Time to Move
When you are ready, start to walk at a slightly slower pace than normal.
Keep the upright, relaxed posture and the calm, focused state of mind.
As You Walk
Be aware of the sensations in your feet. Feel the
- heel landing
- weight rolling forward, from the heel through the ball of the foot towards the toe
- alternating pattern of contact with the ground then release
- inside of your shoes, the fabric of your socks
- contact between the toes
Let your feet and ankles be as relaxed as they can.
Without looking down, bring your attention to your hands. You should just be able to see them as they swing forward. Maybe you can feel a breeze against the skin on your hands as they move through the air?
If you feel tension in any part of your body, bring the mind to that place and just allow it to melt away.
Stay in the Zone
Try to keep your attention on what is happening right now.
The experience of being you, walking, in the place where you are.
Inevitably your mind will wander. Before you know it, you’re turning over some problem or situation, large or small.
When this happens, just acknowledge that you were somewhere else for a while and then gently bring your mind back to the here and now.
This is your time.
There may also be external distractions. For example you meet someone you know or have to negotiate a traffic hazard.
Just relax and go with it. Enjoy the conversation and get across the road in one piece.
After you have dealt with whatever required your attention, you can return to walking with focus.
Bring your awareness back to
- correct posture
- the sensations in your body as you walk
- what your senses are telling you about the world around you
You Can Practice Focused Walking Almost Anywhere
Great if you are in the country, with lots of fresh air and no distractions.
If you are in a city, maybe you can go to the local park.1
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes if you can.
Straighten up and Move on World Spine Day 2016
Back pain can really get you down. Believe me, I know all about it.
Self help and exercise really does work.2
Join in by walking with focus on Sunday 16th October, World Spine Day 2016 and sharing your experience by posting on the Back Pain Liberation Facebook page, just click here:
Maybe describe where you walked, who took part and what you experienced.
It would be really great to see some photos of you out and about. Feel free to upload some pics along with your comments.
This mindful technique gets easier and more effective with practice.
Getting involved on Sunday could be the start of something good. It’s all about taking those first few steps.
P.S. Here’s the link to FB one more time:
Don’t forget to take a selfie (or a groupie) to upload with your story!
Countdown to World Spine Day 2016
1Whatever the location, you will need normal situational awareness, e.g. for traffic.
2Always seek medical advice