Posted by: lauls | 2005/05/19

swimming for back pain

I recently hurt my back from doing very heavy weights and I sit at a desk all day (about 2 months ago). I stopped exercise completely and have been going to a Body Stress release practitioner and using oils,it is slowly getting better but I am still constantly in pain. I have been told the only exercise I can now do is swim and pilates. I have lost my hard earned muscle (I lost 13kgs of fat before) and now I am getting flabbier but not bigger. I started swimming and pilates 2 weeks ago, is this going to be enough to get me back in shape and toned again? I follow a pretty healthy diet and have not changed my eating habits.I dont want to put back on the weight. How far and how often should I swim?I am only allowed to do freestyle and breaststroke, been doing about 500m each time. I want to do enough to get me in good shape again as I dont think I will be going back to the heavy weights ever again. Will the pilates also make a difference?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Lauls

Swimming and pilates are certainly good forms of exercise - I think that without being blunt, if you have been told that you have to limit your exercise to swimming and pilates, then what choice do you have? It's either swimming or nothing and swimming is certainly better than nothing, so my advice from that point of view is go for it.

You will find that swimming is very different from activities like running and cycling, because the water and the buoyancy effect mean that you don't work against gravity to the same extent. It's also very technique reliant, and so until you develop a decent technique, it's difficult to get the benefits from swimming, whereas running you can pretty much benefit from the get-go. HOwever, once you establish a regular swimming routine, it's very easy to get great training sessions and some really good workouts. What you are swimming now is good, but you can begin to build this up over the next few weeks and get to a kilometer a day of swimming. The other thing is to do intervals, which in a pool is really easy, because you can swim two lengths hard, two lengths easy for example.

I do suggest however, that you get the back sorted out so that you can begin to return to the activities you had, if you are not currently doing this already.

Good luck

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