You will spend most of your exercise time engaged in aerobic activities. In fact, aerobic exercise demands a certain minimum time period at least twenty minutes per session, and preferably forty five minutes to an hour, repeated three of four times a week. The sustained nature of the activity is what raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping as you burn oxygen.
These effects give aerobic exercise its other well known name, cardiovascular activity. Indeed, the benefits of sustained activity for the heart and circulatory system have by now gained universal acceptance.
But for you, as a person with back trouble, aerobic exercise has another important value, sustained aerobic activities nourish the disks of your spine by increasing the blood supply to these unique tissues. Much back pain emanates from the disks themselves, which contain abundant nerve endings. To treat your disks themselves, whether you are trying to protect them from deterioration or help them heal after injury, you do best to pursue aerobic exercise.
The strong relationship between cardiovascular exercise and the health of the spinal disks has implications for other lifestyle choices. You have probably heard at least a million times that smoking is bad for your heart and lungs. But the fact is, smoking damages the disks too, through its effect on the blood circulation.
Nicotine and other components of cigarette smoke compromise the micro circulation the network of tiny blood vessels throughout the body that feed all the tissues, including the disks. Physician’s surveys have identified cigarette smoking as one of the major risk factors for back pain.
Among backache sufferers, smokers outnumber nonsmokers four to one. And in follow up studies of people who have undergone operations for the repair of herniated disks, cigarette smokers prove five times more likely to have a poor outcome than postoperative patients who don’t smoke.
Alcohol, like cigarette smoke, also constricts the blood vessels and can contribute to poor circulation around the disks. Moderate drinking in social situations probably contributes very little to disk degeneration, but alcohol abuse can aggravate back pain from this source.
You may feel immediate positive effects from aerobic exercise, in addition to backache relief. These could include increased energy during your waking hours, coupled with better sleep at night. You may find that you feel calmer during your aerobic activity period, and that you look forward to this time of day, at least in part, for the stress relief it brings.
Over the long term, aerobic exercise will help you shed unwanted pounds, since such activity burns body fat and calories. Provided you don’t simultaneously your food intake, aerobic exercise will gradually whittle away your excess weight.
Aerobic exercise tend to be every one’s favorites because they are intrinsically enjoyable, or can be made that way. Many of them can be done in the company of others, and therefore provide opportunities for pleasant social contacts. Wakings wins our vote for the best aerobic exercise, since it is safe and effective and can be done virtually anytime, anywhere, indoors or out.