WHY A BAD BACK NEEDN'T MEAN WEIGHT GAIN
Figure out exactly what's wrong
This may be stating the obvious, but consult a specialist about your back problem if you haven't already done so. People often put up with back pain for months without getting proper diagnosis. An anti-inflammatory or pain killer from a doctor only treats the symptoms rather than addresses the cause! It's important to establish whether your back pain is a long or short-term problem.
Short-term back problems
If your pain is related to issues such as strain, overactive muscle spasm, or vertebrae wear and tear, the weakness can be rectified with corrective exercises recommended by a fitness professional.
In this case you needn't consider alternative forms of exercise to help keep your weight down. Instead, you could develop a programme that would activate the deep core muscles that protect your spine, before resuming your usual calorie-burning exercise schedule.
An REP qualified instructor will be able to give you expert advice on formulating a core muscle training programme for your specific needs.
Long-term back problems
If your bad back is a long-term issue, you need to know what activities are going to prevent weight gain without exacerbating the problem.
A trial and error approach is needed to see which activities don't aggravate your back. If it is in a state of muscle spasm then gentle mobility (i.e. walking around in small doses) may be your only option in the short term.
If walking in small bursts or swimming is possible, then make the most of it but don't push your body over the pain threshold.
Any activity burns calories so work on the principle of just moving more if specific exercise isn't possible.
Approach all movements while activating your transverse muscles:
- Inhale deeply and draw your belly button in towards your spine. A tension should develop in your midriff.
- As you exhale, keep your belly button drawn towards your spine, then breath normally.
- Hold the tension for as long as you remember. The more you practice this manoeuvre the more automatic it will become
By strengthening your TVA and retraining it to automatically activate and hold, you can visibly reduce the size of your waist as well as protecting your lumbar spine in the long-term.
Count those cals!
Adjust your calorie intake to maintain a balance with the reduced calorie outgoings from your reduced physical activity. If you get the balance right you won't gain weight and should be able to maintain a constant weight until your back issue is resolved and you start exercising again.