Low-impact aerobic exercise is one of the safest ways for those with chronic back problems to lose weight and strengthen muscles.
There are several key benefits of aerobic exercise multiple as losing weight helps alleviate the stress excess weight places on your back, and increased circulation promotes disc healing and relieves stress, which can cause tight back muscles.
A number of cardio machines offer low-impact, calorie-burning workouts, so you can lose extra weight with little to no risk of injury.
The elliptical trainer offers a no-impact workout. It has suspended, individual foot platforms that move in smooth, continuous strides, gliding forward and back. Your feet don’t leave the platforms as you make each stride, which eliminates the small risk of jolting presented by walking.
Without placing stress on your back, you can safely increase the speed of your stride on an elliptical trainer to burn more calories. Most elliptical machines have handles you can push and pull in rhythm with your lower-body movement for increased calorie burning and upper-body toning.
While walking is generally considered good exercise for both weight loss and back pain rehabilitation, the treadmill provides the least amount of impact. It propels your feet forward with each step, which is one reason why treadmill workouts are slightly easier than walking outside.
Until you’ve lost some initial weight and developed a sense of control on the treadmill, keep your pace moderate to moderately challenging, rather than vigorous.
Exercise bikes come in a variety of forms, and it’s likely that one suits your back issues and personal preferences more than another. All exercise bikes are conducive to weight loss, because cycling can be a high-calorie burning workout. Traditional stationary bikes have wide, supportive seats. Recumbent bikes have full seats, including backrests.
You might begin on a recumbent bike, and as you improve and enjoy the exercise you can then move to an upright bike and take cycling classes as you lose weight and your back improves.
The step machine is similar to the elliptical trainer in that it has individual foot platforms, or pedals, that you pump up and down without lifting your feet. A step machine offers low-impact, calorie-burning workouts.
Rather than holding on, lightly rest your hands on the machine, which helps prevent you from keeping your upper body too rigid and reducing the effectiveness of your overall workout.