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Back pain is a rampant issue that plagues many adults, particularly those who work long hours on their feet or spend most of their time hunched over a desk. Back pain can put you out of commission for quite a while and can cause you to miss out on important life events. The thought of exercising and working out is often out of the question for sufferers of back pain; however, doing so can actually help relieve some of the pain. You may not be able to complete your normal workout to its fullest extent, but there are a few exercises that help with back pain you can supplement into your workout instead. This guide to some of the best exercises that help with back pain will help you choose a workout that works best for your needs and abilities.
Swimming is one of the best low-impact exercises for injuries of all kinds. Exercising in the water helps relieve some of the strain that’s placed on your joints and spine when exercising on land. Swimming allows for more fluid movements that produce a lower-impact workout overall. In addition to easing pressure on joints, swimming provides just enough resistance to help strengthen back muscles without causing additional pain.
Choose strokes that keep the spine in a neutral position and to avoid hyperextension as much as possible. Avoid butterfly and breaststrokes, as these force your lower spine to arch forward repeatedly and can cause additional stress to the spinal column. Opt instead for freestyle or backstroke, two strokes that require minimal spine movement and can be taken at a leisurely pace. If you choose the right swimming exercises for you, you can reap some incredible rewards and feel the relief.
Yoga is often used as a catch-all exercise for injuries of all kinds, and with good reason. The slow, sustained movements in yoga allow for dynamic stretching that helps limber up tight ligaments, muscles, and joints. Certain yoga poses are more beneficial for relieving back pain than others. Try to avoid stretches that place excessive strain on the lower back, such as toe touches and forward folds, and opt instead for floor stretches that allow for easier movement throughout the spinal column. Practice alternating between cat and cow poses, slightly arching and rounding your back while on hands and knees. This gentle warm-up pose will bring some mobility to your back without placing additional strain on the spine. Bridges and cobra poses are also gentle poses that can help ease back pain.
If organized yoga lessons aren’t quite your speed, you can also engage in various floor exercises at your own pace. Like with yoga, however, it’s important that you take these exercises slowly and focus on placing as minimal strain on your spine. Certain floor exercises are more beneficial to back pain than others.
Sit-ups, for instance, place significant strain on the lower spine and back muscles. Altering this exercise slightly and engaging in half curl-ups, in which the lower back and spine do not leave the floor, is a much safer option and will yield far less back pain. The Superman exercise is also beneficial for strengthening the spinal column and reducing back pain. Lay on your stomach with your arms and legs extended fully. Then, engage your core and raise your arms and legs so they hover slightly above the ground. This will help strengthen your core and back muscles, allowing you to feel less back pain during the course of your other exercises.
Unlike some other aerobic exercise machines, elliptical machines place very little strain on the spinal column. In fact, ellipticals are a great piece of equipment for individuals suffering from any sort of pain. Ellipticals keep the individual’s feet stationary in the pedals and operate in a gliding motion, which helps reduce strain on joints.
Unlike the previous exercises, an elliptical workout does require that the individual remain in an upright position for an extended period. This can lead to a bit of stiffness in the lower back, but as ability and familiarity with the exercise increase, the stiffness will soon fade. The best way to avoid back pain when exercising on an elliptical is to pay special attention to your form and to engage your core as much as possible. Strengthening your core and back muscles by maintaining proper posture will reduce the likelihood of developing back pain over time.
Cycling is another great form of aerobic exercise that places minimal strain on the back. Both outdoor and indoor cycling allow for low-impact, high-energy cardio exercise that is gentle on the back. Indoor cycling is often better for individuals with back pain, as there is more variety in stationary bikes and one can focus more on their form. If you experience significant back pain, consider choosing a stationary bike with a reclined seat, rather than those in an upright position. This will provide additional support for your back, thereby reducing the strain placed on your spinal column.
If you do choose a stationary bike in an upright position, however, pay special attention to your form throughout your workout. People tend to hunch over the handlebars when biking, but this can cause significant pain in the middle and lower back. Ensuring that the bike seat is at an appropriate height and distance from the handlebars will reduce your ability to lean forward and hunch over the handlebars. Maintaining proper form requires constant vigilance. Rather than slumping over the handlebars and bending at the back, try to push up and out with your chest. Pull your shoulders back and keep your arms, back, and neck long and straight. This will help keep everything properly aligned and will reduce the likelihood of back pain.
For industrial gym equipment, including stationary bikes and elliptical machines, contact our team at American Home Fitness today. Our team is eager to help you find the best solution to your back pain so you can continue on your fitness journey with the least pain possible.