Exercise for a Healthy Back: Aerobics
These recommendations are for people currently not experiencing back pain. Modifications are necessary if you have back pain. Do not continue to perform an exercise which produces pain. Seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist.
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Aerobic exercise provides cardiovascular conditioning — it strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body's ability to use oxygen. Some other benefits of aerobic exercise includes increased energy levels, improved mood, better sleep habits, and decreased blood pressure. Aerobic exercise also burns calories and improves your metabolism, helping with weight loss. Some examples of aerobic exercise include:
- Cross-country skiing
In general, to achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually work up to an aerobic session lasting 15 to 60 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week. Please check with your physician before starting any aerobic program. Ask your physical therapists how to start an aerobic exercise program.
Your workout plan should consist of a 5-minute warm-up ( including stretching exercises) before the aerobic activity and 5 to 10 minutes of a cool down (stretching and slower activity) after the activity.
Here are some precautions with aerobic exercise:
Jumping rope puts too much pressure on the discs and should be avoided. Running can be done as long as it doesn't increase lower back pain. When walking or running, wear supportive, well-cushioned shoes and walk or run on a level surface.
What should I know about pain during exercise?
Do not ignore pain — if you feel increased pain or pain spreading to the legs, do not continue the activity. If you continue to perform the activity while you are in pain, you may cause unnecessary stress or damage on your joints. Seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist. Fear of pain can cause unnecessary inactivity. Learn to "read" your body and know when you need to stop an activity.
Video: Seated Exercises for Older Adults
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