If you have a back injury, are recovering from back surgery, or experience back pain from time to time, you may be wondering when you can resume normal activities such as exercising. Exercising provides numerous benefits to both mind and body and is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some types of exercise however, may do more harm than good if you have back problems. Here are some ways to stay active with back pain.
Swimming is one of the best exercises anyone can do. Swimming is great for cardiovascular health, building long and lean muscles, increasing flexibility, and strengthening your core. Swimming is perfect for individuals with back pain or back injuries because it’s a low-impact exercise and takes weight and pressure off your back.
If you want an exercise that will engage and strengthen your core but are limited by a back injury, consider modifying the classic crunch. Crunches can aggravate an already injured or sore back, but limiting the motion of the crunch can help. To do a modified crunch, lie on your back as if you were doing a normal crunch. Instead of coming all the way up, tighten your stomach muscles, breathe in, and raise your upper back and shoulders from the floor. Breathe out as you lift up your back and shoulders, but only rise a few inches from the ground—just enough to feel a slight burn in your abdominals.
Yoga or Pilates
Yoga and Pilates both offer a myriad of benefits. They help calm the mind by focusing on breathing techniques, and are gentle on the body by combining a mixture of stretching and light weight-bearing moves. Both exercises have been shown to be effective in relieving back pain and allow you to go at your own pace. A few minutes spent practicing yoga or Pilates each day can increase your flexibility and strengthen your abdominals—both which can greatly help with back pain.
Elliptical Trainer or Stationary Bike
These machines can help you build muscle and shed fat while also being easy on your back. Since these machines are both low-impact, they lessen the load on your back unlike a treadmill, which can worsen a back injury due to the constant pounding of your feet on the machine. A great benefit to these machines is that you can increase the resistance and get a more intense workout, without adding stress to your back.
When dealing with back pain, getting active can seem daunting, especially if you’re worried about worsening the problem. Luckily, with the help of low-impact exercises, you can live a healthier lifestyle and manage your pain or lessen it. Coastal Orthopedics wants you to feel your best. If you’re living with back pain, contact Coastal Orthopedics today so we can help.