Let's talk about exercise and back pain…Here is a question I received recently:
"Is it ok to exercise when my back is hurting? Just recently I got into a good routine going working out three times a week, and I really don't want to stop…"
I get the frustration and know how it can feel a little scary to do any movement when you're having some kind of pain. Here's the thing…you don't want to run the risk of making this injury into something worse than it already is. You don't want to go 'too hard' in the gym in case you pull another muscle.
And you definitely don't want to wake up one day to find that you can no longer roll out of bed easily, walk down the road, or even drive because you kept working out even when your body was telling you to stop.
But don't let that worry you too much – that's rarely ever the case!
An aching lower back doesn't mean you have to be housebound, lounging with heat and ice packs, hoping it will magically disappear.You CAN keep moving! In fact, not moving at all can make your back pain worse!
If you suffer from lower back pain that comes and goes, then do you know what will make a big difference? Gentle walking with specific exercises and movement designed to improve your back strength.
Walking is a completely natural movement that keeps your joints mobile and muscles working (even those in your feet, lets, hips, and torso!) All of these muscles play an important role in keeping your back strong and upright.
When you add stretching to walking, your back will improve its strength, flexibility, and posture, which in turn, can help stop back pain from creeping up on you when you least expect it. What's more, it can also reduce how bagging and achy it feels and limit how much back pain gets in the way of your day to day life.
So here's the important question to answer now that you know it 100% is ok to exercise even if you've got a bad back…
What exercise can you actually be doing? Because of course, too much exercise, or exercise that's strenuous could make your situation worse or keep it hanging around longer.
Even though there are false beliefs around Yoga, like 'you've got to be flexible' etc., etc., etc… you can ditch those false beliefs behind because it's for anyone!
Let me tell you why – Yoga helps build strength.
Yoga requires you to concentrate on specific muscles in the body when holding poses, many of which improve back strength. When these muscles are stronger your back pain can be greatly reduced and is less likely to affect you as bad as it once did.
As well as strengthening, Yoga relaxes the body and reduces tension in your back and neck.
For people with lower back pain, stretching is important. Stretching the muscles in your legs actually help to increase the range of movement in your hips, taking the stress off your lower back. There are other little-known benefits to stretching as well including increased blood flow and delivery of nutrients to the muscles and joints in your back.
It's also once of the best forms of exercise to maintain and improve a healthy posture. Yoga is great for your back, for helping you stop back pain in its tracks and helps you feels great when you can walk around confident and tall.
So there you have it…two ways you can exercise with a bad back: gentle walks and yoga.
Both of these will help you gain back your strength in your back, so you can return to doing the exercise you love the most.
Curious about yoga? We've put together a free instruction page on how to perform the Warrior I Yoga pose. Just click this button to request a copy of your freebie in your inbox now!
Info to help you move better, feel better, get back to the workouts and sports you love...and lots of other things...
Dr. Christine Walker
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