Target your back muscles in a safe environment with gentle exercises that support your health.
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is measured by the body mass index (BMI), which is a combination of your height and weight. Adults who have a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese, and the number of obese individuals across the United States is predicted to rise to 50 percent of the population by 2030, according to the Trust for America's Health.
Obesity carries serious health issues, including chronic back pain, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers. Regular cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training exercises for your back can help you lose weight, build stronger muscles and manage pain. But getting healthy when you're obese can be a difficult journey, especially if you are in chronic pain or discomfort. Starting a new exercise program usually comes with a health warning to not start off too intensely or too quickly, but rather to take it slowly, especially in the beginning stages. Because the heart has to work harder to circulate the blood around the body of someone who is carrying a lot of extra weight, people who are obese run a greater risk of heart attacks or other coronary issues with high-intensity exercise.
Top Cardio Picks
High-impact or high-intensity cardio exercises are not recommended for obese people, so when choosing cardio exercises that burn calories and engage the back muscles, pick from low-impact and low-intensity exercises. A few top picks include swimming, walking on the treadmill while pumping arms and using the elliptical machine while exercising your arms. Swimming is an exercise that is especially helpful for the obese because exercising in the water makes the body feel buoyant, offers resistance training and keeps you cool, all while burning calories.
Working out on the strength-training machines at the gym might prove problematic if it's difficult to fit on the seats, so you may want to create a strength-training back routine that you can perform at home with hand weights or a resistance band. Strengthening your back muscles can help to reduce back pain and improve balance and stability. Some back exercises that are accessible to the obese include seated resistance band exercises like seated resistance band lat pulls, seated rows or horizontal resistance band rips. Always allow at least one full day in between strength training sessions so your muscles have time to recuperate.
Chronic back pain is a major health concern of many people who are obese. This may be due to extra pressure placed on the lower spine from the effort of carrying excess weight in the upper body. Managing chronic pain can be difficult if you are obese and have mobility issues. A few gentle stretches, such as pelvic tilts and Bridge pose, can help to alleviate lower back pain. You can also perform both stretches from your bed if it's too difficult to get down on the floor.