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The Best Exercises & Stretches for Back Pain (Even if You’re Stuck Inside)

The Best Exercises & Stretches for Back Pain (Even if You’re Stuck Inside)

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back pain exercises

There’s a lot going on right now that might be giving you an aching back, and sudden changes to your daily routines—missing your yoga class, being on home childcare (or homeschooling) duty, working in a makeshift home office—can do a serious number on your spinal health.

But don’t resign yourself to this new normal! Exercise and physical activity are proven to reduce back pain and improve movement quality if you stick with it. Here are some options that you can do practically anywhere—even if you’re “sheltered in place.”

The Best Exercise To Reduce Back Pain (according to research)

(Drumroll, please…) According to research, the best form of physical activity to reduce your back pain is…Whatever form of exercise you can actually commit to doing consistently! Here’s the deal: the important thing is that you get moving and stay limber, regardless of what that movement is exactly.

It’s true: no one targeted exercise method is superior to another for creating long term improvements in back pain. Many have been studied, from Pilates to stationary cycling and more, and while they all improved most participant’s back pain, the overall results six months out were not noticeably different from one type of exercise to another.

Overall, the important key to creating improvement was consistently getting moving, regardless of the method.

How To Choose The Best Exercise For Your Situation

The exercise you choose for your low back needs to be an exercise that you can actually stick to. You can choose an exercise program that works for you by determining these three things:

1 | What exercise you actually enjoy doing

2 | What you’re physically capable of doing

3 | How much time you have to commit to this practice on a daily basis

Now that you have some realistic guidelines for choosing an exercise, let’s talk over a few quick-start options. To help you choose a favorite type of exercise for your low back pain, we’ve pulled together a couple of options for you that require little or no equipment, and can be done (just about) anywhere.

Yoga for back pain management

Yoga

Yoga is a great choice, requiring nothing more than 10 to 60 minutes of time and an open flat space for practice. To make things easier and less slippery, you can use a towel or a yoga mat but it’s not required. One thing that does stand out in the research on exercise for back pain is that any training that improves overall core stabilization is helpful in treating low back pain, and yoga is famous for its focus on a healthy core.

Looking for a specific plan? Here are three different sequences of yoga poses, from 10 to 30 minutes in length, designed for easing and preventing back woes.

Prefer to see your asanas performed by a real person? Adriene Mishler’s excellent Youtube channel includes some wonderful videos specifically for lower back pain and upper back pain.

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Indoor Aerobic Circuit

An “aerobic circuit” may sound intimidating (or just not very fun), but it simply refers to any workout comprised of a series of exercises you do in a sequence, with a focus on both heating up your muscles (i.e. with free weights or your own body weight) and raising your heart rate. And it barely requires anything but a bit of open floor space and a commitment to your own health!

Here’s an aerobic circuit designed specifically for strengthening your lower back to prevent future injury and pain in just 15 minutes.

Want to learn more about creating your own aerobic circuit? Find out how to craft the perfect circuit for you (or circuits, as changing up your workout routine is essential for preventing the dreaded plateau…and not losing your mind to boredom).

back pain exercises

Walking

The age-old practice of walking is one of the top choices for improving low back pain because it is simple to get started with no equipment, and accessible to just about everyone. It can look business casual – if you walk around the block with a coworker on your lunch break – or you can throw on your sneakers and sweats to go for a long morning jaunt.

Studies have noted how simple it is to see real results from a daily walking regimen because it’s a cheaper alternative to other forms of physical exercise and requires less planning. Saving money and moving more is a win-win!

Choose A Daily Movement Method And Get Moving!

Many different types of exercise have a positive effect on low back pain. The important thing is to choose one and commit to a regular movement practice. Try any of these simple, FREE exercises and start feeling relief today!

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