Living a sedentary lifestyle can make your bad back even worse; learn how to exercise with a bad back and use these tips to exercise with a bad back. Note: These are general tips for people wanting to learn how to exercise with a bad back, but researchers have demonstrated that exercise is not good for people who have an acute back problem, in which case exercise might cause further injury, like if you have a herniated disc, for example.
To learn how to exercise with a bad back, you will need the following:
- Permission from your doctor to exercise
- Know what kind of bad back you have
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles. Strong Abs are the most important thing about learning how to exercise with a bad back. When your abdominal muscles are weak, more pressure is placed on your back. Since you are putting more stress on all of your joints when exercising, it is especially important to have strong Abs when exercising with a bad back. In order to strengthen your abdominal muscles, try crunches with your knees bent. "Bicycle crunches" or crunches with your legs out straight can hurt your back if your back is already bad.
- Don’t lift with your back. This might sound obvious, but if you have chronic back pain, you might not even realize when you are doing something to aggravate it more. Bend with your knees if you are picking up weights. The American Academy of Family Physicians says to keep your back straight and keep objects close to you when lifting them.
- Consider low impact exercise. Low impact exercise is great for people who want to exercise with a bad back. Try swimming, the elliptical machine, walking or yoga. Avoid activities like football and heavy weightlifting.
- Lose Weight. If you have excess weight, it is straining your already bad back. Excess weight will cause more pain when you are exercising and when you are at rest. Losing weight will also help you to have better posture, which will alleviate some pain when you are exercising.
- Stretch your hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can make it difficult to exercise with a bad back. Start stretching slowly and don't bounce. The best hamstring exercise for a back back is to lie on your back with one leg on the ground; have a partner elevate the other leg until you can feel the stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch legs. Repeat twice on each side. Eventually, you should be able to bring each leg to a 90 degree angle.