Low back pain can make it difficult to find a cardiovascular exercise that’s effective. You want to get your heart pumping, but not at the expense of hurting yourself. One great cardio exercise that’s easy on the back is bike riding! Riding a bike doesn’t require a lot of movement from your back.
Here are some quick tips on how to keep your back safe and comfortable during those bike rides:
First, find a bike that is properly suited for your body. According to Dr. Jonathon Edwards from his article, “How to Avoid Lower Back Pain While Cycling,” many people are “riding bikes that are too big for them, take the time to have a bike fitted to your body.” If you’re cycling in a gym or aren’t in the market for a new bike, adjust the bike you are given to suit your needs.
Next, focus on your posture. According to Spine-Health.com, “It is important to maintain good posture by keeping the body centered and the back well positioned on the bike (i.e. avoid hyperextension). Poor posture on a bike can strain the low back and/or the upper back and neck.”
If you aren’t into bike riding outside and want to just pedal in the privacy of your home, a recumbent bike can be an excellent resource for your sensitive spine. As stated in Spine-Health.com, “A recumbent exercise bike (versus an upright bike) also provides great support for the low back, and this added support can help people with low back problems get started with a very gentle aerobic exercise program.”
Recumbent bikes have an actual back pad, while upright bikes do not. Both are effective machines to get your workout in, the recumbent bike just provides extra support. Recumbent bikes are also great for when you need to multitask! You can pedal while reading, listen to audio books, or watch the news. There are several great places to buy a recumbent bike, and if you’re not opposed to getting slightly used equipment, they can be purchased for a very decent price.
Lastly, if you don’t want to cycle alone, try a group exercise spinning class at your local gym. Classes last from 45 minutes to an hour, and it can be motivating to workout and be healthy when you have others working next to you! Keep these helpful tips in mind when your cycling, and remember to keep your spine safe!
If you or a friend or family member do happen to suffer a back injury or experience back pain and need care please Find a doctor with one of our board certified and fellowship trained spine surgeons.
Our surgeons practice a full spectrum of conservative spine care options including physical therapy and pain management.