Exercise is the recommended method for relieving and eliminating back pain. Back exercises help rehabilitate the spine and alleviate back pain. The best way to eliminate back pain is with a controlled, gradual exercise program that takes into account your abilities. Gradually increasing the number of reps or the weight of your equipment will help your body strengthen back muscles to relieve and prevent pain. This iTrainer guide describes how to exercise with back pain if you are a female adult.
Benefits of a 12-week Training Program for Adult Females
The advantages of exercise are extensive and long-lasting. Exercise improves both physical and mental health. Physical benefits include greater strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. The body releases endorphins that improve mood and raise the energy level too. This article will describe a set of doctor-reviewed exercises as an example of a 12-week training program for adult women with back pain.
As you achieve improved levels of fitness, you may notice that you seem to stand straighter and taller. Among the lasting and long-term benefits of exercise is improved posture. The alignment of the spine to the lower body is a critical element in maintaining a lifestyle free of back pain. Poor posture is both a sign and symptom of poor back muscle condition, and it also contributes to further weakening and increases the likelihood of chronic back pain.
How to Exercise with Back Pain if You Are an Adult Female
A woman walks into her doctor’s office and says, “It hurts when I bend this way.” The doctor replies, “Well, don’t bend that way!” The old joke has some truth when exercising with back pain. If a movement causes pain, then you should avoid it. The exercises that doctors recommend for people with back pain avoid too much stress, extreme movement, heavy weight and high impact. If you have back pain, then you must learn how to exercise with back pain so that you improve rather than worsen your condition.
A leading health medicine expert advises that keeping a regular exercise routine is a highly effective way to eliminate back pain and prevent it from returning. In one study, people who took two to three exercise classes a week and participated in at-home workouts experienced less pain. When you exercise, you’re strengthening the muscles that support the back. This type of exercise also reduces depression, sleep problems and fatigue, which helps to prevent more pain.
12-week Training Program of Exercise with Back Pain for Adult Females
A three-month program for exercise with back pain can focus on strengthening the muscle and supports for the back to relieve pain and increase strength and flexibility. Divided into multi-week segments, women can start the program slowly and build to pain-free exercising, resulting in an improved level of overall fitness.
Weeks 1 through 3: Stretching and mild strengthening
Weeks 4 through 6: Stretching, moderate strengthening and fitness exercises – You should increase the number of sets by one; for example, the partial crunch can be two sets of 10 rather than one set.
Weeks 7 through 12: Stretching, more strengthening and fitness exercises – Add an anaerobic and cardio benefit such as swimming, a treadmill walk with pace and incline, or a stepper machine. You should increase the sets for each strengthening exercise; for example, the partial crunch can be upped from two sets of 10 to three sets of 10 repetitions.
Stretching, Strengthening and Getting in Shape
Back pain cannot improve without an overall program that corrects weaknesses and problems in the related and connected body parts. The chest and abdominal muscles work as complementary muscles to the upper, middle and lower back. Many women experience lower back discomfort as a consequence of gaining weight in the midsection as the back muscles lose support from the abdominal muscles. Posture changes can cause chronic back pain and weakness, and this too relates to the strength and tone of other muscles in the abdomen, legs and hips. A weak core contributes to back pain.
Part 1: Stretching
1.1: Hamstring Stretches
The hamstrings are important for back strength. The legs support the upper body and contribute to good posture and proper alignment of the spine.
Get a small towel and put an exercise pad on the floor before starting. Hard surfaces are not good for your back when exercising. Lay on the pad on your back with hands and arms at your side and with feet spread about one foot apart.
Raise one leg slowly with knee bent. Holding the towel in your hands, put it over your raised foot or calf. Then, gently pull the towel until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg. Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds and then release. Lower the leg and do the same movement on the right leg. Repeat to do a total of two repetitions per leg.
1.2: Overall Back Stretch
Position by lying on the mat and then turning on one side. Put the top knee forward onto the floor with the top arm at your side.
With the top knee on the floor, raise the free arm straight to the front, and then slowly move the arm from front to back as far as you can comfortably reach. Hold the position for about 30 seconds, and then return the arm to your side. Turn to the opposite side with your knee on the floor. Repeat the motion with the other arm.
1.3: Abdominal and Thigh Warmup
Position a chair in an open space. Sit in the chair with feet flat on the floor and hands at your sides.
Sitting with your feet on the floor, raise the left leg toward the chest. Then, continue to raise the right and left knee toward the chest alternately. Do 10 lifts per leg to warm up the thighs and lower abs.
Part 2: Strengthening
2.1: Partial Crunch
A full crunch may strain the neck and upper back and put too much tension on the lower back. The partial crunch is a better method for back relief because the feet, tailbone and lower back stay on the floor. The partial crunch will strengthen the back and stomach; these muscle groups must complement and support each other.
Lie flat on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head or across the chest.
Raise the head, neck and shoulders as one. If your hands start behind your head, be careful not to pull on the neck. Raise until you feel the tension in your abs; hold the squeeze for a few seconds, and then slowly drop back to the flat position. Repeat the movement 10 to 12 times.
2.2: Back Extension Press-Up
The back extension is a way to strengthen the lower back as you work to strengthen your abdominal muscles. The use of the arms to support the movement is important for those exercising with back pain as it relieves stress on the lower and mid-back areas. This movement is an important exercise for building up strength in a very vulnerable region of the spine as many injuries occur here from over bending, reaching and lifting heavy objects.
Lay a pad or exercise mat on the floor or ground. Lie down on your front with hands under your shoulders and elbows on the mat.
Push down on the hands and lift the head, neck, shoulders off the floor. Press with the arms and let the elbows support the upper body; hold the position for about five seconds and then lower to the floor. You can do one set of five repetitions.
2.3: Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt will strengthen the lower abdominal muscles, the lower back and the mid-back muscles. This dynamic movement increases torso flexibility and strengthens the hips.
Lay a pad on the floor and lie down flat on your back with knees raised and feet on the floor. With relaxed breathing, focus on your midsection.
From the flat starting position with hands at the sides, tighten the abs and squeeze the lower back to the floor. Tighten the abs as if bracing for a blow to the belly. This tightening will produce a rocking movement, and this small movement is the tilt. Relax and then repeat the tightening and rocking movement. Hold each movement for about 10 seconds. One set should equal 10 to 12 reps.
2.4: Pelvic Bridge
The pelvic bridge will strengthen the core, abdominal muscles, lower back and mid-back.
From the flat starting position with the hands at the sides, knees bent and heels on the floor, squeeze your buttocks and slowly raise the midsection to a comfortable height. Raise until just the shoulders remain on the floor. Hold for five counts and slowly lower. Rest for a count of 10 and then repeat. You should do 8 to 10 reps per set. When raising the body, make an effort to tighten the abs.
2.5: Knee to Chest
Lay an exercise pad on the floor and lie down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
With one foot flat on the floor, bring the other knee to the chest. While keeping your back pressed to the floor, you must hold the position for a count of 10 and slowly bring the leg down. Then, repeat with the other leg. One movement of each leg is one repetition. Do four to five times per leg for one set.
2.6: Bird Dog Movement
The bird dog movement will stretch and strengthen the upper, middle and lower back and also help tone the abdominal muscles.
Lay an exercise pad on the floor and kneel on the pad on all fours. Focus on relaxed breathing.
From the all-fours position, extend the left leg backward until nearly straight and hold this position for a few seconds before returning. Extend and hold the opposite leg to complete one repetition. Do 8 to 10 reps per set.
Variation for weeks three through six and beyond: Stretch out the arm opposite the stretched leg. This position is the Bird Dog form; it is as if pointing with the arms and legs. Repeat 10 to 12 times for two sets and then for three sets in the last phase of the 12-week program.
Increasing Effort and Intensity
In the second weekly segment, you can continue stretching and add intensity to exercises for strengthening the back and the muscle groups that support the back. Intensity is an important element, and it involves working harder and exerting more energy. The benefits come in increased tone and development. When exercising, you are either moving ahead or falling behind. A plateau is no place to stop; rather, it is a sign to work harder.
Part 3: Getting in Shape
Exercises that strengthen the legs, hips, abdomen and back will increase overall muscle tone over a period of six to eight weeks. In the final weeks, you can add exercises to increase fitness and strengthen the body. Working out for 30-minute sessions three or four times per week can make a remarkable difference in overall fitness.
Aerobic Walking and Treadmill
Walking helps tone the muscles in the legs, hips, abdomen and back. These are the muscle groups that strengthen the back to reduce pain and help avoid injury. Walking has a lower impact on the back than jogging, during which the body gets at least a mild jarring from pounding the feet into the ground. Walking is better for women with back pain than jogging. After some time of walking and toning the muscles for strength, you can add some light jogging if you no longer feel back pain. If you start jogging and experience pain, it’s a sign to back off until your muscles are stronger.
Treadmill walking is an excellent tool for women at all stages of training. Treadmill walking has a lower impact than walking on hard surfaces. Treadmill walking provides control over speed, time and distance. You can do treadmill walking indoors or outdoors, and weather conditions will not interfere with the schedule for workouts and exercise. For women who exercise with back pain, a treadmill is an excellent investment in health.
Treadmills are flexible: You can use them to warm up as well as for exercise, aerobic exercise, jogging and running. At iTrainer, you’ll get advice and assistance in getting the best type of treadmill machine for your needs, preferences and fitness goals.
In advanced stages of fitness, you can use inclines to increase the workload and run on the treadmill regularly for aerobic conditioning and fitness. Treadmills are flexible and versatile exercise platforms. Some customized workouts combine inclines, variable pacing and light hand or ankle weights.
Swimming and Pool Exercises
Swimming is an excellent exercise for the back and for overall muscle toning. Swimming has aerobic benefits that increase blood flow to all muscles. Water resists your body movements and adds extra value to exercising done in the pool. Exercises in the pool have a lower impact than if done out of the water. The water supports the body, thereby reducing the impact on the back and spine. Low-impact water exercises are especially beneficial for older women with less bone density.
Weights and Resistance
Weights are important for building and maintaining muscle mass. Diet and exercise combine to add muscle and maintain existing muscle mass as people age. Weights and resistance pose a risk of injury and strain, particularly if you have had back pain. You should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program, and you should ask whether weight training will be safe and helpful.
You can start weight training with lighter weight such as 1-pound barbells or even a soup can to provide a beginner level of resistance. Weight training should proceed gradually to add weight as you get stronger. You will continue stretching before each exercise session, and weights can add variety to your routine. For example, you can use wrist weights or light dumbbells while you walk. Pumping your arms while holding 1-pound weights will add a significant aerobic benefit.
A Long-term Fitness Program
Fitness is an investment in health and longevity. Along with a balanced diet, making sure you have a strong core, flexibility and good muscle tone will help you live better and enjoy life. After completing this program of exercises and toning to reduce or alleviate back pain, you may be ready to start an assisted 12-week training program for fitness. Visit iTrainer find a personal fitness trainer in your area.