Exercises for back pain

The NHS Live Well campaign suggests that "the best way to deal with back pain is to stay active and continue doing regular exercise" But what regular exercise should you do? And how regular is "regular"?

walking for back pain
cycling for back pain
swimming for back pain

Walking, swimming and cycling are about the best forms of aerobic exercise to start with. Wait until you're over the acute episode of back pain and then gently start to increase walking. It's free, convenient and everyone can do it! Just keep going a little further each time and build up slowly. A pedometer is really helpful to show you how many steps you're taking in a day and how far off the magic 10 000 steps you are. By the way, shopping walking does NOT count!

If you have a bicycle, get it out and dusted off. Start with a gentle ride just to turn your legs over and again, slowly increase your distance and speed. We're not breaking any land speed records and we're certainly not bunny hopping over fallen branches! If you don't have a bicycle, you could pick up a second hand exercise bike for a reasonable price and use that instead, It works just as well!

Swimming is also great because it's non weight bearing. Ideally you should try and do half breaststroke and half front crawl or backstroke. That way your legs are doing the the two different kicking actions. Try and wear goggles so that you feel more comfortable putting your head under the water. Ladies, I'm afraid the hair has to get wet!

Yoga and Pilates are also great forms of exercise. Look for a class that's convenient and close by. You're more likely to keep these things up if you make them a habit and set aside regular time in your life. There are so many different forms of exercise now that we shouldn't really be doing anything we don't enjoy anymore.

So how about it? Let's all make sure we're reaching those recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week.

What’s your favourite way to increase the number of steps you take in a day? Leave your answers in the comments below.
— Jackie - Chiropractor

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