The Best Cardio for a Bad Back

Jessica Smith
by Jessica Smith
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The Best Cardio for a Bad Back

If you suffer from back pain, you might want to stay away from some traditional types of cardio exercise (such as cycling) that keep your spine in a forward flexed position, aggravating an existing back condition. Instead, we’ll focus on movements that keep your spine in a more comfortable neutral position.

In this short workout video, I’ll show you some of my favorite cardio exercises that can help you build fitness and burn calories without stressing your back. We’ll use a step for some of the moves, but not to worry if you don’t have one at home, I’ll also show you how to do the exercises without the step.

And of course, it’s important to note that weight loss happens with a combination of exercise and healthy eating. In order to lose weight you’ll need to create a caloric deficit, so be sure to pair your workouts with a healthy diet that is under your daily calorie needs in order to shed pounds effectively (download MyFitnessPal to start counting your calories and tracking your exercise today).

Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out for my “workout” partner, my puppy Peanut, in this video! (Do you work out with your pets at home too?)

Did you try the moves? Let me know which one was your favorite in the comments below!

Note: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. If you are working with a specific back injury, get your doctor and/or physical therapist’s approval before attempting this workout. If you suffer from back pain regularly, be sure to consult a professional for an expert diagnosis.

About the Author

Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith

As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. She now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visit walkonwalkstrong.com to learn more about her fun, results-driven programs for all levels of exercisers.

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12 responses to “The Best Cardio for a Bad Back”

  1. Avatar Kylie says:

    Too ironic! I just did your stretching video on YT. I’m pretty picky, being a fitness instructor myself, but it turned out to be one of my faves. You don’t rush the stretch and there’s not any real yoga moves. There are too many yoga videos and not enough plain old stretch videos. I wanted to ask your opinion on increasing flexibility. I’ve been an avid exerciser since I was 15 (I’m now 49). I’ve always done cardio, strength and stretch but I’ve noticed in the last year that I’m much stiffer and my hips are very tight. Any input would be appreciated.

  2. Avatar Kylie says:

    Too ironic! I just did your stretching video on YT. I’m pretty picky, being a fitness instructor myself, but it turned out to be one of my faves. You don’t rush the stretch and there’s not any real yoga moves. There are too many yoga videos and not enough plain old stretch videos. I wanted to ask your opinion on increasing flexibility. I’ve been an avid exerciser since I was 15 (I’m now 49). I’ve always done cardio, strength and stretch but I’ve noticed in the last year that I’m much stiffer and my hips are very tight. Any input would be appreciated.

  3. Avatar Ruth says:

    I love Jessica’s videos.

  4. Avatar Robin Markowitz says:

    I use a recumbent stationary bike, with additional lumbar support. And I take walks on the trails in the park, mall walk, and do my physical therapy core strengthening exercises. I have arthritis of the spine and premature osteoporosis, so no impact exercises for me. No running, ever.

    I log plenty of miles and use an interactive app indoors to enjoy the great outdoors when I can’t get out.

    Works for me!

    • Avatar Elaine says:

      Robin, I have bone issues as well as spine and joint issues and use a recumbent stationary bike. Might I ask which app you like? Boredom with my surroundings at that time is my biggest enemy! Thanks! –Elaine

    • Avatar Michelle Browne says:

      What do you mean xtra lumbar support on your bicycle
      I have to buy one for my back and have no idea about them
      Many thanks michelle

  5. Avatar Lani Oswald says:

    How do you enter this workout in the app? I am wanting to do this tonight. Thanks

  6. Avatar Christine Saettone says:

    Where’s the video?

  7. Avatar Sarah Maloney says:

    Where is the video?

  8. Avatar Tara says:

    Not seeing a video

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