The human body is designed to stay in motion, not for long periods of rest – and the same holds true even if you’re suffering from back pain. Remaining active is important for everyone, which is why we prescribe the majority of our patients regular low-impact aerobic exercise for back pain.
Aerobic exercise helps keep the body healthy by increasing your heart rate and improving circulation. Low-impact aerobic exercise provides those benefits without any excessive impact that may jar the spine and worsen your pain.
Most people should aim to complete at least 30 minutes of low-impact exercise, 3-5 days per week. If you’re new to exercise, however, we recommend that you start with 10-20 minutes of exercise, 3-5 days per week. It’s important to consult your primary care doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
Benefits of Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise for Back Pain
- Helps reduce the frequency or severity of flare-ups in your pain
- Keeps the spine both functional and mobile
- Burns calories to help you maintain a healthy weight
- Produces endorphins (nature’s painkillers) to elevate your mood and fight depression
Types of Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise
Walking for Exercise
Walking for exercise is simply walking at a faster pace than you would normally walk. This form of low-impact aerobic exercise is less jarring than jogging, meaning it’s better for your spine and joints.
You can complete this exercise nearly anywhere, making it extremely convenient. Grab a friend and head to a local trail or even the mall, or hop on a treadmill to reap the benefits.
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Elliptical trainers are designed to mimic the motion of jogging without any jarring impact. Your feet rest on foot pedals that never touch the ground, making this an ideal exercise for those with stiff joints. Elliptical trainers also offer various resistance levels, so you can increase your level of intensity as needed.
Like elliptical trainers, stationary bikes were designed to simulate the motion of a bike without any unnecessary impact from riding over uneven ground. Many fitness centers offer guided cycling classes for all levels.
Swimming or Pool Exercises
Performing exercises in water lessens the impact on your joints. For example, swimming is a great low-impact exercise because your body is floating in the water, meaning your body won’t experience any jarring impact.
If you’re not a swimmer, don’t fret. There are many exercises you can do in the pool, including just walking in the water. Walking in water is great exercise because water naturally provides resistance for your body to work against. It works your leg muscles without any added impact on the knees or hips.
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As you can see, there are many different ways to perform low-impact aerobic exercise for back pain. For more helpful information like this, please subscribe to our monthly Healthy Back Newsletter below.