Posted by: York | 2009-09-03

Getting fit after a spinal fusion

Dear Fitness Doc

Please help. I am a 31 year old female who had a lower spinal fusion about a year and a half ago. After the operation I spent a year in a wheel chair whereupon I gained rather a lot of weight as well as my abdominal muscles became very weak.
I am now up and walking and would confidently say that the operation was a success.
I have been using swimming as way of trying to lose this weight as well as trying to get some fitness back. My question is what else can I do to try and lose weight as well as get fit. Someone suggested I use a Bosu ball with light weights as it gives a good all body workout. Obviously I need to bear in mind the damage to my back and as such feel that more high intensity exercises such as running are just not an option for me. I look forward to your input and many thanks for the time taken.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi York

Tough one - any time you have a time off for that long, especially when it's in a wheelchair, the return to exercise must be managed very carefully. Swimming is a good start, it will help with the core muscles stability and with fitness, so keep that up for sure.

I would suggest that you consider seeing a biokineticist, just to assess your progress post that surgery. If you are clear, then something like Pilates might be very good for you. It will certainly help with the core muscles, though the problem is that you might find it quite difficult to perform many of the exercises, if not impossible.

I agree that running might not be great, but I wouldn't exclude it altogether - you can start with walking and see what you can do from then on. But I'd say start with a bio, see that you're all OK, then consider Pilates, and try the Bosu ball work and some weights, but ease your way into that.

Good luck

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