Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
Low-impact aerobic exercises include things such as walking, swimming, riding a bicycle or using an elliptical trainer. Walking and biking should be done on a level surface (or on a stationary bike). Doing some swimming or other light aerobics in warm water can help speed up the healing if your back is currently hurting. Aerobics will help with general muscle tone and will help you lose weight. Extra weight can put added stress on the lower back, causing pain. These exercises also can be used as a warm up for 5 or 10 minutes before doing other exercises.
Back Stretching Exercises
It is important to stretch your back and other muscles before attempting any strengthening exercises. Stretching the back muscles will help alleviate pain.
One way to stretch is to pull your knees with your hands up to your face while lying on your back. Hold this for about 10 seconds. You also can try doing just one leg at a time by pulling your leg toward the shoulder on the same side as the leg. Repeat this about 10 times.
After bringing both knees up, try lowering your knees slowly to each side to twist the back muscles.
While lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, flatten the small of your back against the floor. Hold it for five seconds before relaxing. Do this about 10 times.
Back Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening the back muscles is a good way to help prevent lower back pain. One way to do this is to form a bridge with your body. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your abdomen to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this for a count of five and then relax. Repeat this five times.
Another good exercise is to start by lying on your stomach with your arms stretched out past your head. With your palms and forehead on the floor, raise an arm and an alternate leg and stretch them away from each other. Hold this for 10 to 20 seconds before switching to the other arm and leg. You also can try this while starting from your hands and knees. Just be sure to keep your back straight and level. Try doing two sets of 10 reps.
Another exercise for the lower back is to start by lying on your stomach with your arms at your side with the palms touching the floor. Lift your head and chest up and hold it for about 10 seconds. Try to do two sets of 10 reps.
Abdominal Strengthening Exercises
Abdominal muscles support the back, especially the lower back, so weak abdominal muscles are often the culprit of lower back pain. A simple way to strengthen the abs is to "suck in" your belly button. Do this for about 10 seconds at a time, and try to do a set of 10 reps.
Another exercise is to lie down with your back on the ground and your knees bent. Lift one leg up and then lift the other next to it and hold for five seconds. Lower the first leg and then the second leg. Try to do a set of 10 reps.