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02 Aug 2007

Back Pain
Dear Fitness Doc,
I am 25, overweight and suffer from severe lower back pain. My Doctor advised me to lose some weight. I went to see a dietician and she provided me with some guidelines for healthy eating and also said that I need to walk on a daily basis for 20 - 30 minutes a day. She also said that i need to get a 'joga ball' to use as it would strengthen the core muscles and also reduce the signs on 'loose skin' as i lose weight. Are there any other exercises I could do in the comfort of my own home, without hurting my back, which would help with the weightloss? Where do I find this 'joga ball', it is actually called this?
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Bella

If the problem is simply that you need to lose weight, then that's great, and there will be many more health benefits, apart from relieving your back pain. I do worry that your back pain might be a little more complex that just losing weight, but that's something you can address later on.

To begin with, you have the diet, so great start. Next, with regards to exercise, the idea of 30 minutes per day is a good one - it needn't be walking, you could cycle (problem is cycling outdoors), or join a gym and do any one of a number of exercises. So there are options other than walking, but the principle is correct - 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is the target. To begin with, you might wish to try 20 minutes a day, but only 3 days a week, so that you have a day off for every day of training. Then, as you get fitter, you can begin to increase the duration of the training and head for 30 minutes a day, eventually 40 minutes a day, and for five days a week.

The dietician is also correct about the core muscles - that's important for back strength. You can buy those balls at sports stores - sportsmans warehouses, totalsports (I think), etc., or at physio practices and some gyms. For some exercises, you can check out the following website:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/core-strength/SM00046

Good luck
Ross
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