If you think the best treatment for a sore back is lying on the couch all day, you couldn’t be more wrong. In almost all cases, staying active and continuing to exercise will help you recover faster and can protect your back from further injury.

How Does Exercise Reduce Back Pain?

Exercise is effective at relieving back pain for several reasons: 

  • Stronger muscles
    Regular exercise helps you develop stronger back and core muscles, which will provide more support for your spine and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Increased blood flow to the back
    Working out increases the activity of the cardiovascular system, sending more oxygen-rich blood flow to your back. This additional blood flow can help your back heal faster and reduces inflammation.
  • Stronger bones prevent fractures
    Weight bearing exercises will help you maintain strong bones, which is particularly important for back health.
  • Improved flexibility
    Increased flexibility in your muscles, tendons, and ligaments makes it easier to perform day-to-day activities and avoid injury. It’s also useful for achieving improved sporting performance.
  • Better posture
    Working our regularly will improve your posture, which can take some of the load off your back.
  • More endorphins in the body
    After a good workout, the body will release endorphins, which are a type of neurotransmitter that has an analgesic (pain killing) effect. Endorphins are partially responsible for that positive feeling you experience after exercise.

7 Exercises For Back Pain

Before you start: If you are in a lot of pain, haven’t exercised in a while, or have chronic medical problems, talk to a doctor before commencing any new exercise program.

If you are out of shape, start slowly then gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Aim for consistency until you are starting to feel fit, then slowly increase your exertion levels.


#1 Swimming

If you have osteoarthritis, bad knees, sore hip joints, or severe lower back pain, swimming is often recommended as a way to improve physical condition.

Swimming is an extremely low impact form of exercise that delivers some incredible health benefits. You can either swim laps at a local pool or enrol in a water aerobics class. Both activities will strengthen your core, improve your cardiovascular health, and give you more stamina.  

#2 Walking

Walking is a great way to strengthen the back muscles and boost cardiovascular performance without any risk of injury.

To get started, simply walk around your local park for 20 to 30 minutes each day. Gradually lengthen the duration and intensity of your walking sessions. For bonus points, walk with a friend to make the experience more enjoyable and transform it into a habit.

#3 Cycling

If you prefer to travel at a slightly faster speed, jump on a bike. Aside from being a lot of fun, cycling is less jarring on the spine than other forms of exercise. It can significantly improve cardiovascular health while strengthening leg muscles and boosting joint health. If your balance isn’t the best, use a stationary bike.

#4 Low Impact Aerobics

Aerobics is a fantastic form of exercise which doesn’t require any equipment and can be performed virtually anywhere. It is particularly useful for improving range of motion, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. The best approach is to find workouts which are designed for people with back pain.

#5 Resistance Exercises

A resistance exercise is any form of exercise where your muscles contract against an external force. This includes activities like free weights, weight machines and medicine balls.

However, if you have a sore back, you may find that some types of resistance exercises are unsuitable. For example, it is not advisable to perform situps or use heavy free weights when you have lower back problems, as it can exacerbate your back issues.

#6 Yoga

Yoga offers many benefits including improving flexibility, strength, range of motion, and general fitness. It’s also a wonderful activity for mindfulness and promotes a feeling of inner peace. If you are a yoga newbie, take a beginners class or watch a yoga video online designed for people with back pain.

#7 Stretching

Regular stretching can dramatically strengthen your back muscles and increase your flexibility. The best way to develop a back safe stretching strategy is to work with a chiropractor. They will help you understand which stretches are best given the health of your spine and the fitness goals you wish to achieve.

Take your first step to better health