• You're all caught up!

Cardio Suggestions With a Sore Lower Back

author image Nina Makofsky
Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.
Cardio Suggestions With a Sore Lower Back
A woman is floating in the water. Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Healthy adults require at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily to maintain or improve their weight and heart health, according to the American Heart Association's guidelines. However, having a sore lower back impedes your ability to do high-impact exercise. The additional shock to your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones can worsen your condition. Choose lower-impact cardiovascular activities to burn fat effectively and stay safe. If your lower back pain persists, speak with your doctor.

Aqua Aerobics

Fitness beginners, people recovering from injury and others who seek a gentle form of cardiovascular exercise use aqua aerobics to burn fat or sometimes as a form of gentle therapy for certain conditions. Simply walking or jogging through water while pumping your arms raises your heart rate and works your upper, lower and core muscle groups. The deeper the water, the harder you have to work to move through it, burning more calories. You can diversify your aqua aerobics workout by adding aqua weights and other kinds of water resistance tools specifically designed for aqua aerobics.


If you seek a more vigorous form of cardio with minimal impact to your back, consider swimming laps. Warm up by moving slowly through the water. Move your arms in the same pattern you use when swimming to make sure your back muscles can support the movement. If rapid arm movements twist your back uncomfortably, use a kickboard while swimming laps.


Doing full-body static and moving stretches in the yoga sun salutations can provide gentle stretching and relief for back pain. Practice the poses with different ranges of motion to check how your back feels. Maximize the cardio element of yoga stretches by moving fluidly. Breathe deeply, filling your abdomen and chest, to engage your core muscles and support your back as you move. Keep in mind that power yoga and hot yoga may only exacerbate back pain.

Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer replicates the moves you do on a stair treadmill, with one key exception: your feet never lose contact with the pedals making the movement completely non-impact. The movement of the elliptical trainer helps you strengthen your core and your legs. The faster you move the more you challenge your cardio conditioning. Most of these machines feature attachments that allow you to move your arms at the same time. Practice these arm movements slowly at first to ensure they do not irritate your lower back muscles.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media