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Need Advice for Serioius Cardio Workout with Bad Back

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I used to jog everyday, and I was super trimmed and looked awesome! I always had very bad back pain, but I would push through the pain. Then my back started going out again and again. Finally my back problems got pretty serious,  at age 25 I was on disability for 3 months, almost bed ridden. Funny, they have not been able to diagnose me properly yet. I do, however, know that when my back goes out, that part of my problem is due to a disc buldge.

Anyhow, upon being bed ridden and on the awful medication, that helped the pain, I gained 30 pounds. I went from 120 to 150. I've never in my life had a problem with my weight. The medication bloated my body and it caused me to crave sugar, which is weird because I have never had a sweet tooth, ever.

I've lost 10 pounds. I literally dropped it like nothing once I quit taking the meds. Now I'm 140. Diet is not hard for me as I have always eaten very healthy. I just watch my portions a little closer. I consume between 1300 and 1500 daily, sometimes a little less, and I walk, minimum one hour a day at about 3-3.5 mile per hour. I also alternate strength training about a 30 minutes worth 3 times a week.

This is all great, but it seems to be taking me forever to lose this weight. When I used to run I could drop 2 or more sizes in a month. I've never had to work so hard:( I've tried running 3 times now, and each time my back goes out. So, I'm not allowed to do that anymore.

Do you know any cardio exercises that really get the heart pumping and will make me sweat without using a machine or stressing my back?

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Original Post by grenflowers:

Do you know any cardio exercises that really get the heart pumping and will make me sweat without using a machine or stressing my back?

If you have access to a pool, you could try swimming or water aerobics.

Spinning classes and riding a bike outside -- both excellent calorie burners and fairly easy on the back. 

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I like interval training. You may have to google it because there are so many ways to do it. But I do 1 min of all out running, 1 min fast pace walking, one min running, one min fast pace walk for the entire 10- 20 mins and three mins of cool down. It's fun on the eliptical too, sometimes I change it every 30 secs.

It's supposed to make you burn three times as many cals. IDK, but I like it. I sweat my butt off and feel great afterwards. And the time goes by really fast.

Ps- I too have a bad back but considering there are so many ways to get cardio just do what feels good to you. My cardio doesnt bother my back, my weight training does. It all depends on where your pain is.

SWIM!  Definitely better for the joints especially the back.  When I was 16 I fell on my back doing a vault and had very bad cramps and soreness, but swimming seemed to ease the pain more than anything and I could still get my cardio in.  I used ot have to go to the Chiropractor about three times a week for adjustments during my ruinning seasons, but when I took up swim, i was putting in a lot of distance and my doctor saw the benefits before i could really realize it.  The swimming helped me with my back problmes.  I used rubber slip on fins for more speed in my workouts and it helps to add on the distance and use less strain.  When you paddle with your feet it can irritate more because you are constantly flexing those posterior muscles in your back, but if you use the fins, it can help in making a smoother motion through the water and you can go at a faster pace too.

You probably have a herniated disc. My disc between L5 and S1 is herniated and the 4 discs above and below it are bulging. All the pressure on my nerves from the discs crippled me. Fortunately I had spinal decompression therapy 3 times a week for about 5 1/2 months and it did wonders (they hook up harnesses to your upper body and your waist and then slowly pull your spine the slightest bit and hold it so the discs get a chance to move back in between the segments of your spine). Now it is very seldom that my back bothers me. I'd talk to your doctor about whether he thinks that treatment could help. It's a fairly new procedure but in my experience it was fantastic. Now all I have to do to make sure my back doesn't give out again is to do some back care yoga. Rodney Yee has a wonderful video that keeps my back strong and flexible. I also use Denise Austin videos - she always includes some good back strengthening exercises to offset her ab exercises. Maybe a new cardio routine isn't what you need...perhaps trying to add something like this in a couple times a week will give your back the strength it needs to push those discs back into place (or keep them from slipping furtherFrown) and you will be able to run/jog again.

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Just now seeing your post.  I was a runner for a number of years and did weight training too.  I too have a disc that is putting pressure on my lower vertebrae in my back, I have also had neck surgery in the past.  I had to do some serious core training in my abs, and really work hard on strength training my back.  I was told not to run outdoors on asphalt anymore as that was too jarring on my low back and neck.  Running on a treadmill has more give and you can do it on an incline which takes the stress off the lowback.  The best thing you can do is invest in some serious running shoes that will give you good shock absorbency and the shoe most be flexible and not stiff and have minimal slippage in the heel.  This is important because it all translates to the amount of shock and stress that travels up through the legs to the spine.   Another option for you if that is too much for your low back at this time is the eliptical machine or stairmaster which gets your heartrate up to its maximum range and has the very same effect as running without the jarring.  You will shed the pounds very fast on these machines.  The key is staying on the machines at least a good 30 minutes and keeping your heart rate up.  I too have gained alot of weight and am working hard to get back into shape and desire to get back to running but am having to take it slow myself.  I hope some of what I have to say helps you!


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