If your back is feeling stiff and sore, you might think you should take it easy, but studies show exercise helps reduce back pain. However, some exercises are better than others – high impact activities might aggravate pain. Instead, try these low-impact exercises and you’ll be feeling the relief in no time.
1. Go Swimming
It might be simple, but getting in the water offers lots of opportunities to ease back pain according to the New York Times. It’s low-impact, there’s no risk of injury from falling, it can double as cardio, and it’s very versatile. Although you can just do a normal breaststroke, you can also try different types of activities in the water like gymnastics or strength training. The water is great for developing muscle tone since it provides a natural resistance.
Many people take up yoga to relieve stress or increase flexibility, but it may also be the perfect exercise for back pain says Harvard Health writer Peter Wehrwein. Some studies show yoga can be even more effective at improving back functioning than the usual back pain treatment programs already in place, and equally effective at reducing pain. Some of the most common and basic poses used in yoga like upward and downward dog along with the cat and cow pose where you arch your back are perfect for relieving tension in back muscles.
3. Core Strengthening
Working out your trunk or core can significantly improve back pain, especially chronic lower back pain according to an article in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science. The researchers say one cause of back pain is weak muscles in the core, which includes your abdominals as well as the muscles in your back, especially your lumbar so focusing on developing strength in these areas can help. The Mayo Clinic recommends the Superman, where you lay on your stomach then lift your legs arms and head and planks.
For many, Pilates can be a welcome relief as it was for Vicky Joseph, who struggled with excruciating back pain for 5 years and saw over 50 specialists says the NHS. Pilates is a full-body workout, but it also helps improve your posture and strengthen your core, effectively reducing back pain. Spine-health says Pilates may be especially beneficial for people who have problems in their intervertebral discs. Since Pilates incorporates many types of movements, you may need to speak to your instructor beforehand and make small adjustments to avoid any aspects that would create too much impact or put unneeded stress on your back.
5. Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP)
If you haven’t heard of stand up paddleboarding yet you might want to check out the Glozine lifestyle fitness section again – it’s one of the newest and fastest growing sports with a lot of potential for back pain relief. The NIH says low-impact exercises that involve balance are also great. Paddleboarding involves standing on board in the water, so balance is essential, but also need to use your entire core, arms, and shoulders to move through the water, making it a great workout and a potential relief for back pain when done correctly.
Spine-health recommends using an elliptical to get a great cardio workout, burn calories, and provide strength training to the arms and legs when you increase the settings. Having a cardio aspect and burning more calories can help people with back pain lose weight and reduce the pressure on the back in the process. Since the machine slides, you’ll avoid the impact of walking or running on hard surfaces. Make sure to maintain good posture throughout the activity – if you find yourself having to hunch over to use a machine, either you aren’t doing the exercise correctly, or the machine may be made for someone with a different body type.
All of these activities are low-impact and help strengthen your core or involve stretching, which makes them great for reducing back pain and helping you stay fit. If you don’t have time to get in a full workout every day you can also go for brisk walks, another simple but low-impact activity. Before taking up a new exercise, make sure you check with your doctor and learn how to do it correctly. Although all of these exercises have been recommended for easing back pain, there’s always a risk for injury if you perform them incorrectly.