The Southeastern Spine Institute

Healthy womanWarm-up exercises are critical to improving the health and structural condition of your back during your back surgery recovery. While the desire to rest your back is entirely natural, it’s not the optimal way for your back to recover from the stress and trauma of back surgery. An active lifestyle that includes regular exercise is essential for the human body in any circumstance, but it’s particularly useful when you’re in back surgery recovery.

Once you’ve decided to make exercise part of your healing process, you need to perform warm-up exercises before any activity. Warming up is a dual-purpose activity since it aids you both mentally and physically. While the physical aspect is more easily understood, the mental dimension of a warm-up can be just as important.

Linking the Body and Mind

When you begin your warm-up exercises, your mind focuses on your back. You may expect a certain amount of resistance from your back because of the surgery. By beginning slowly, your mind tells your body to get ready for some activity.

Your mind relieves stress and tension, removing any lingering anxiety you might have about using your back during exercise. So, when go at it slowly with warm-ups, you have an effective communication between the conscious and unconscious mind that enhances your circulation and hastens back surgery recovery.

Physical Benefits of Warm-Up

While you’re sitting at rest, only between 15 and 20 percent of your body’s maximum blood flow is taking place in your skeletal muscles. After a ten-minute warm-up, your blood flow circulation increases to as much as 75 percent of its potential. Your capillaries have to open up to receive the flow.

Of course, your doctor or physical therapist will structure a comprehensive exercise program for you, complete with warm-up exercises for your back surgery recovery. But it’s incumbent on you to perform them as instructed and not think you can skip over this important step.

Warm-Up Activities

Before you start to exert yourself, spend between five and 10 minutes on low impact activity. The most obvious choice for such a warm-up is easy walking, but if foul weather or other circumstances prevent this, there are several exercise machines available that can help you accomplish the same result:

  • Treadmills offer the closest approximation to walking.
  • Stationary bikes are another good option; they’ve been helping people warm up for decades.
  • Step machines mimic the action of walking upstairs, which can affect different muscles in your upper legs and back.
  • Elliptical machines are the newest warm-up machines. The gentle elliptical motions deliver the lowest impact possible on your joints. They’ve found favor with both athletes and physical therapists.
  • When used strictly for warming up in a slow and gentle manner, rowing machines can exercise the entire body while promoting positive circulation and muscle strengthening in the back.

Moving On

After you’ve stimulated a sufficient amount of circulation, you can then proceed to some specific stretches and exercises. Of course, never push yourself to the point where you experience pain.

Also, before you begin any exercise or warm up routine, have a thorough discussion with your physician. Don’t begin any activity until the two of you have arrived at a full understanding of what is advisable during your back surgery recovery.