Of all the thousands of articles, websites and blogs about back pain rarely do authors come out and say that back pain seems to accompany bodies that are in just plain bad shape. You’re not supposed to say that are you? ‘Plain bad shape’ is the condition that dares not speak its name.
There are many ways to cure back pain. In fact it’s probably the small gains that you get from doing a lot of different things that will, in the long run relieve your pain.
One of those things is getting yourself into better physical condition generally, sharpening yourself up. You could spend a fortune with the physiotherapist and the chiropractor when what your back pain was telling you was that you needed to improve your fitness generally.
To do that you need an aerobic fitness training program.
The thing about aerobic fitness is that it’s going to tone your body generally and get you closer to your ideal weight. The big benefit is you’ll feel better. The side benefit is your back may feel better. I heard that former world marathon champion Robert DeCastella once said that the hardest thing he ever had to do was get his shorts and sandshoes on and get outside the front door. After that it was one leg at a time.
Sounds pretty much what it’s like for all of us.
So what can you do? In the beginning was the walk, then the walk became a shuffle, then shuffle became a jog and the jog became a run. You’ll have to decide which of these activities is best for you. If running is out of the question then walk.
There’s cycling – outside or inside. A lot of people got fitter on the stationary bike while they watched their favourite TV program. There’s swimming and at the gym there’s a host of aerobic equipment like the Versaclimber, the stepper and the elliptical. I use the stepper, it’s easier on my legs.
Here’s the rule of thumb for getting aerobically fitter.
– 20 minutes a day is good, 30 minutes is better, 40 minutes is best.
– 4 times a week is good, five times is better and 6 times is best, but don’t let that stop you doing something in the morning and something in the evening on most days.
– A heart rate of 120 beats per minute is good, 130 is better and 140 is best.
Stick to that formula for six months and you should be as fit as a trout, lean as a greyhound and toey as a Roman sandal. There’s a good chance your back will feel better as well.
The best way to keep your fitness program on track is to exercise with a friend or a group so you can keep each other motivated. There’s plenty of groups you can join if you’re serious about getting fitter. Do it with friends at work. Get to work a bit earlier, leave a bit later and take a bit extra time off in the middle of the day. The fittest healthiest, happiest and most productive workplaces I see are those where people exercise together at lunch time.
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you’ve got back pain, embark on a good aerobic fitness training program.