Research has long supported the belief that exercise is not only good for your long term health, but can also be a powerful tool for rehabilitating and preventing back pain.
With so many exercise options to choose from, getting started can be a bit overwhelming. Plus there’s membership, the right gear, and of course, finding time to do it all!
The Bad Backs editorial team sought to find out the best on-trend exercises for improving back health, including some key questions for starting a new exercise regimen: Will I enjoy it? Is it expensive? Do I need to have any previous experience? And what is ‘barre’ anyway?
You might also be interested in The get-fit-and-healthy trends of 2015
Here we found some of the latest and greatest fitness trends to keep you moving, and get your back in ship-shape condition:
1. Functional fitness
As the name implies, functional fitness is all about building a stronger body for your everyday activities by training your muscles to work together and simulate common movements you might do at home or work.
Focussing on strength exercises, functional fitness requires no equipment or gym memberships – just a simple combination of exercise that you can do at home, or with a personal trainer. Functional exercise training may be beneficial as part of a comprehensive program for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls.
You might also be interested in: Exercise through injury – the right way
2. Short workouts
These days, the biggest objection that we have to exercise is not simply about motivation to get started, but about finding the time in our busy schedules. Try the 7 minute workout app (available on Apple or Android) – based on the ‘scientific 7-minute workout’ routine in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal, this high intensity interval training app will get you moving in 12 exercises, and in shape in no time.
You’ll simply need your own body weight, a chair and a wall, and a time in your busy schedule to get it done! Don’t forget, you’ll need to do it more than once a day to really feel the benefits.
You might also be interested in: How being sedentary can affect your health – and back
Long hailed as the mind-body solution to back pain, there are a multitude of Yoga options to try – including Power Yoga, Bikram, Ashtanga… and the list goes on. The benefits of Yoga are far reaching – increased flexibility and strength, boosted immunity, and an overall sense of ‘ohm’ calm and mindfulness.
And research in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology suggests that yoga is actually as good for your heart as aerobic exercises, like brisk walking. But we think that the best thing about Yoga is that you can choose your own pace to suit your health needs, and in classes, there’s always a professional on-hand to offer some advice on the best way for you to move.
You might be interested to try: TOGU DynAir Meditation and Yoga Cushion
Looking to improve your posture? Barre is the latest craze in fitness, combining postures inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates and designed to rely mainly on your own bodyweight for resistance.
According to Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3 fitness, the barre is used to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (which is holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles), combined with high repetitions of small range-of-motion movements. The moves in the class challenge your core stability and balance, and are popular because they give real results, and they’re a whole lot of fun.
But like with all new exercise routines, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
The 10 biggest fitness trends for 2015 – Shape: http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/10-biggest-fitness-trends-2015
Functional fitness training: Is it right for you? – Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/functional-fitness/art-20047680
What to expect in a Barre Workout Class – SparkPeople: http://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=what_to_expect_in_a_barre_workout_class