What sport to lose weight when you have back pain?

marche2 What sport to lose weight when you have back pain

Article reviewed and approved by Dr. Ibtissama Boukas, physician specializing in family medicine

One of the potential reasons why one has back pain can be being overweight. With this in mind, it is recommended to practice a physical activity allowing weight loss, and the reduction of symptoms at the same time.

What sport can you practice to lose weight when you have back pain? Since many movements are painful in the presence of low back pain, it is important to follow specific rules so as not to aggravate the condition. This article offers you 5 sports that impose minimal stress on the body, and allow those who suffer from back pain to stay active.

5 sports proposals (infographic)

Here is a proposal of 5 sports promoting the healing of back pain. Indeed, these hobbies, if applied correctly, allow effective and even therapeutic physical activity, not to mention the associated weight loss.

1. Walking


Walking is one of the least taxing activities of stress to the body. As you can choose your speed from works, it is always possible to make the necessary adaptations so as not to aggravate his back pain.


In addition to the speed, it is also possible to adjust the inclination (either by walking in the mountains or by increasing incline on a treadmill).


Finally, he is possible to adjust the walking time to be sure that you stay in "non-dangerous" areas (whether for your heart or your back!).


APlease note: In some cases, back pain is aggravated by walking due to the extended posture of the spine ! If you ever try walking, and see an increase in your pain despite the adjustment of the parameters mentioned above, you must consult at all costs!


2. The bicycle 


Cycling reduces stress on the joints (for example, the vertebrae lumbar, but also the knees if you suffer from significant osteoarthritis ou other joint problem at this level). Also, the bike helps maintain your cardiovascular capacity following your back injury (essential to avoid adverse effects of prolonged rest).


In addition to working your cardio, pedaling will activate your blood circulation necessary for optimal healing of your condition. It is best to cycle on a stationary device initially to maintain a safe environment. As with walking, it is possible to adjust certain parameters to protect your back (speed, resistance, saddle position, intervals, etc.).


Be careful though: In some cases, back pain caused by herniated disc is aggravated by cycling due to the flexed posture of the spine! If you ever try cycling, and see an increase in your pain despite the adjustment of the parameters mentioned above, you must consult at all costs!

3. Swimming

You've probably heard it from your doctor: Swimming is very effective when you have back pain.
En addition to reducing the pressure on your joints, swimming provides a feeling of confidence due to the favorable environment provided by the water. Rest assured, you don't have to swim as well as Michael Phelps to enjoy the benefits of swimming on your back! Besides, no one is forcing you to do lengths when you're in the pool.
Often, certain basic movements performed in the water will have a therapeutic effect on your spine. Walking, hip movements, strengthening key muscles using adapted equipment, etc.
On the other hand, certain movements could be prohibited depending on your condition. Being in the water already provides an analgesic effect (ie. helps reduce pain). You must therefore make sure to go gradually so as not to have any unpleasant surprises when you get out of the water. A professional will be able to guide you if you want to integrate an "aquatic" treatment into your daily life.



4. Yoga and Pilates


Both yoga and Pilates have experienced a huge gain in popularity in recent years. Good similar, these two disciplines also have differences. Before naming them, it is necessary to understand that there are many variations to these disciplines, especially when it comes to yoga.


In general, Pilates emphasizes muscle strengthening and motor control (with particular emphasis on the trunk). For its part, yoga promotes poses aimed at improving flexibility by integrating a more “spiritual” component.


Together, yoga AND Pilates integrate exercises aimed at strengthening the trunk, softening the muscles and relaxing the body. Besides, a few studies demonstrated that these disciplines could be beneficial in the population suffering from chronic low back pain.


There is, however, a nuance that is essential to express: As there is no specific license required to teach yoga and Pilates, it is difficult to recommend these approaches systematically.


Similarly, many instructors lack the anatomical and biomechanical knowledge necessary to understand and effectively manage herniated discs.


For example, a trained professional will be able to adjust certain poses based on diagnosis and symptomatology, which can drastically decrease the risk of injury.


5. Therapeutic exercises 


If you see a therapist (like a physio), they will prescribe certain exercises based on their assessment, your stage of healing, and your interests. These incorporate several essential elements for optimal back health.

Whether it's flexibility, mobility, strength or stability, a qualified professional will guide you through safe and effective exercises.



Here are 5 sports to lose weight when you have back pain. Besides the therapeutic and safe aspect related to the practice of these activities, it is important to choose a hobby that gives you pleasure and keeps you motivated. If you are forced to practice a particular sport, there is a good chance that you will lose motivation and stop along the way.

To lose weight and relieve back pain, you have to stay active and stay the course. Do not hesitate to consult a professional who will guide you and adapt the activities according to your needs. Similarly, practicing a sport in the community provides a lot of pleasure, and helps to stay motivated.

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