Question of the Month: What is a good low impact cardio option?

Question: I have battled lower back problems off and on. I have realized that doing the high impact workout that I love – boxing – seems to aggravate it. Is there anything that I can do that gives me the same sweat session and calorie buster that I love but lower impact?

Answer: I have a pretty significant scoliosis and have had years of lower back pain, so I can sympathize with you. One of my secret go-tos is swimming. Freestyle, in particular, lengthens and strengthens your postural muscles and eases back pain.

For me, nothing beats indoor cycling for a sweaty, calorie-burning, low impact option. Ensure you have the proper bike fit and ride profile. Your bike fit should be precise, and try to keep your handlebars high, which decreases the angle of the hip and therefore pressure on the back. Also, keep in mind that using too much heavy resistance with a low cadence can also stress the back.

Lastly, core training can make a big difference for lower back pain. Avoid crunches and side-bending; instead, focus on planks and side planks.

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