Obvious as it may seem, exercise plays a critical role in maintaining health - but it also speeds up recovery from back pain or surgery. Combining aerobic exercise (which works the heart), with strengthening exercises and stretching can deliver physical and mental benefits. Moderate exercise can relieve stress and anxiety, increase flexibility and mobility, improve strength of muscles and increase circulation.
Ready access to home exercise equipment makes it easier to start and stick to an exercise programme! Exercising in the comfort of your own home means you have privacy and can workout whenever you feel like it. But what equipment should you invest in?
1. Elliptical Trainer
An elliptical trainer (sometimes called a cross trainer) offers a no-impact workout. It has suspended, individual pedals that move in smooth, continuous strides, gliding forward and back. A user's foot never hits the ground, so the jarring impact of walking or running on a hard surface is eliminated which is a big plus for back pain sufferers! Without placing stress on your back, you can safely increase the speed of your stride on an elliptical trainer to burn more calories.
Walking is generally considered good exercise for weight loss and back pain rehabilitation, and the treadmill provides the least amount of impact. Its belt propels your feet forward with each step, which is one reason treadmill workouts are slightly easier than walking outside.
3. Stationary Exercise Bike
Bikes provide a low-impact aerobic workout that can strengthen and tone muscles. There are two main types of exercise bikes: upright and recumbent. An upright exercise bike looks like a regular road bike. On a recumbent bike the rider is seated against a backrest with legs out in front.
Upright exercise bikes allow for more variety of movement, such as riding while standing or in a racing position, so more muscle groups can be exercised as a biker changes position. Also, users with conditions such as spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis may find the forward-leaning position of the upright bike to be most comfortable.
Recumbent exercise bikes may be easier to use for some people because the backrest provides additional balance. Users with mechanical low back pain (such as degenerative disc disease) sometimes find the back support and reclining position of the recumbent bike more comfortable.
Stretching and pilates are also great activities to maintain health and fitness and improve mobility for those suffering from chronic pain conditions.
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