“What exercise is best for my spine?”

“What exercise is best for my spine?”

Patients often put this question to me because they usually want to do something to help them without aggravating the spinal problems they have.  Firstly, it depends on what you want to achieve; i.e.

  • General conditioning or
  • Specific strengthening

Secondly, it depends on what activities you like or are prepared to do.

Walking is a fabulous all-rounder and has a huge number of plusses.

  • Weight-bearing exercises
  • Help stimulate bone density
  • Doesn’t ‘jar’ your joints like jogging can
  • Almost  all ages can participate
  • Costs you only a decent pair of shoes and your time
  • Keeps your dog happy!

Swimming is well known to be ‘good’ for your back. This is because there is little you could do while swimming to hurt yourself (aside from drowning of course!) But swimming is unique because the water supports you and you can exercise muscles in a horizontal position that are different to how muscles are used in the vertical position i.e.

The long strap muscles either side of your spine (Erector Spinae) and the extensor muscles of the lower back and hips (Quadratus lumborum and gluteals)

Muscles that pull your shoulders back to help you stand tall ( Latisimus Dorsi and Rhomboids)

Your core stability often improves too. (An easy way of helping your tummy muscles without realizing it!)

  • Aqua-aerobics is an alternative.