The Southeastern Spine Institute

New exercise trends come and go. Remember Jazzercise? Some exercise fads have a specific focus — weight loss or muscle tone, for example — but others may actually be bad for you. When an exercise becomes a back pain cause, you need to stop and reassess.

Back exercises should strengthen your upper and lower abdominal muscles, as well as the muscles in your mid-to-lower back. Back exercises should never hurt your back. In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you.

Exercises to Monitor

Jogging has been a fad for a long time now. It’s generally a healthful activity that can benefit your heart, lungs, legs and organs. Your body likes movement. As back exercises go, though, jogging can jar your spine with its constant impacts. You also may develop foot or leg problems. So jog if that’s what you do, but listen to your body if you start to feel any pain.

A more recent trend is using kettlebell weights when exercising. These handheld weights increase the intensity of your workout, but also put extra strain on your abdomen and back muscles. If you’re feeling strong and healthy, go ahead and work it, but keep tuned into your spine so it doesn’t become a back pain cause.

Yoga is a non-impact activity that can benefit your back, as well as your whole body. Yet if you take a yoga class that’s wrong for you, it can develop into a back pain cause. If you are new to yoga, don’t do more than you’re comfortable doing. Listen to your body when it comes to back exercises.

Exercises to Avoid

CrossFit is the latest exercise fad to take the country by storm, but if you have a bad back, be warned this may not be for you. The idea behind CrossFit is to work the whole body to the point of exhaustion. It’s great for athletes and young, fit people. For those who have already had back problems, though, it’s a potential setback. Back pain causes all exercise to stop, so tread lightly.

One exercise trend you may not have heard of is ballet. While it is a viable fitness regimen, it has unforeseen dangers that can become a back pain cause. Like yoga, ballet requires alignment and posture. You learn the poses and the moves while concentrating on your form. But this back exercise can put enormous pressure on your spine. Try something else.

Another new trend is Vibration Training. You stand on a specially designed machine that vibrates, helping you tone and lose weight at the same time. Unfortunately, there are cheap imitations available that can hurt you. Even the authentic machine can be a back pain cause if you use it improperly.

A Final Word of Advice

Regardless what you do for back exercises, it makes sense to monitor the level of your intensity. Start slowly and work your way up to the more intensive exercises. Back exercises should never become a back pain cause. The goal is to strengthen your back and abdomen muscles, not to hurt them.

Finally, remember to maintain a healthy diet while exercising. Diets pose a different kind of fad challenge and have their own dangers. Good luck with your back exercises!