If you suffer from back pain, health professionals recommend that you avoid staying still and maintain regular physical activity as much as possible. What kind of workout can help you strengthen your back and abdominal muscles to relieve tension and pain and act as a preventive measure? Discover stretches and muscle strengthening exercises that are specially chosen to limit back pain.
Keep Moving to Get Rid of Back Pain
Physical exercise is recommended to stay flexible and limit the risk of back pain. Here are the most appropriate activities to relieve tension and prevent back pain:
- Strengthening exercises: having a well-muscled abdomen helps to improve your posture. This is an excellent way to prevent back pain.
- Swimming: your body weight is supported by the water, and movements are more fluid. Water activities, such as aqua aerobics or the crawl, put little pressure on the intervertebral discs. Just be careful with breaststroke if you have neck problems and want to keep your head above water.
- Low-impact cardio exercises: these help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is an added bonus for avoiding back pain. With an elliptical or recumbent exercise bike, such as the Recumbent series, you can exercise with less impact on your joints. A rowing machine is also useful because it mobilises almost every muscle in the body.
- Yoga, Pilates, Qi gong and stretching are gentle activities that focus on relaxation, breathing, stretching and flexibility: all good ways of keeping your back healthy and feeling good!
Your Complete Workout to Fight Back Pain
Here is an example of an anti-back pain workout to try out at home:
- Relax: start the session with a relaxation exercise to loosen up the back muscles and the diaphragm, which can become tense and contribute to back pain:
- Lie on your back with your eyes closed and concentrate on your breathing. The belly flattens as you exhale and naturally expands as you inhale.
- Bend your knees and bring them in front of your chest, keeping your lumbar vertebrae on the floor, continuing to breathe deeply.
- Alternative: child’s pose, alternating cat/cow positions, etc.
- Start moving gently: warm-up to prepare your muscles for the workout and gradually increase your heart rate. To avoid impact, try the step out, a dance move borrowed from aerobics:
- Move your right foot out, then bring your left foot back to the same position. Reverse and repeat!
- Add arm rolls to mimic the crawl.
- It’s even better with music!
- Alternatively, you can do chassé ballet steps, knee raises, jogging on the spot, etc.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles by doing the plank:
- Lie facing the ground, leaning on your forearms and tiptoes.
- Keep your body upright for 10 seconds, or 30 if you can manage it, keeping your abs contracted, then release.
- Alternatives: the chair, the side plank, etc.
- Strengthen your back muscles:
- Lying on your back, place your arms at your sides, bent at 90°.
- Without moving the rest of your body, raise both arms a few centimetres simultaneously to work the muscles of your upper back.
- Perform a series of movements while breathing deeply, without arching your back.
- Alternatives: the Superman position, a small dumbbell lift, the dog pose, the sphinx pose and so on.
- Lie on your back and place your outstretched legs vertically along a wall.
- Hold the position for several seconds to stretch your lower back.
- To stand up, bend your legs and swing them to the side.
- Alternatively, do the exercise with your legs bent at 90 degrees while sitting on a stool.
Feel free to adapt the exercises to your level and physical condition while keeping the basic principle the same.
Other Ideas on iFit® to Relieve Your Back
The iFit® library contains hundreds of hours of workouts. Visit iFit® to find new exercises to relieve your back, with or without equipment:
- Vinyasa Flow Yoga: relax and learn to sync your yoga poses with your breath through these 30 vinyasa yoga sessions by Natalie Vetica.
- Ultimate Abs: with these 7 sessions of less than 20 minutes without equipment, work your abs from all angles.
- Elliptical Tour: escape to the four corners of the earth with these 20 progressive elliptical sessions filmed on every continent. Do you have a bad back? You may forget about it when you’re immersed in these heavenly landscapes!
- Basic Mobility Series: with these 13 sessions, which last an average of 26 minutes, on an elliptical or Freestride trainer, try 4 sessions a week to regain your mobility and improve your flexibility with low impact cross-training exercises. This series is ideal if you are returning to exercise after a long break or recovering from an injury.
Check out our Health & Fitness page for more advice.