T Nation

Lower back problems and exercize

several years ago my mom had surgery on her lowerback. She is not as active as she once was. She is now 65 years old. She has put on some weight around her middle and wants to take it off. She can’t do sit-up, crunches or any thing that pulls on her back too much right now because the muscles are tight and the spine is stiff, she doesn’t want to take a chance of re-injuring her spine.

She now walks on the tread mill for like 45 min. every other day and is starting to swim some. Are there other things she can do to strengthen her lower back and loose of the the fat around her middle.

Any help will be great.


T.I.A.


Chris

Chris, Just wanted to say your mom sounds like one helluva lady! I think its very admirable that at her age, she’s still concerned about how she looks. With her age and due to the fact she’s had surgery on her back, I think your question about how she could train her back would best be left to the professionals here at t-mag like Christian Thibaudeau or Coach Davies maybe. Just wanted to give her props and say way to go mom!

I have found that back bridging is great for the lower back and I rarely ever get back pain know since I started bridging on a regular basis a few years ago. Of course, your mom should clear it with a chiropracter first. I would also recommend that she engage ina regular stretching program to regain flexibility in the spine.

Of course, your mom is a lot older than me so read this with a grain of sand. But: being too careful with your back will cause it to get stiff and inflexible. Some careful stretches for lower back and leg/hip muscles would probably help her to be able to do things that strengthen her “core” muscles. (Although you don’t said what exactly was done for her back.) Now, I realise that this is easier said than done for a 65-year old person. But take this as coming from a guy who has had a bad/stiff back and rehabbed it with stretches and lifting moderately heavy. Also, slow crunches and SLDL’s with big reps and very low weights are the way to go for increasing both strength and blood circulation in lower back. I think that swimming is very good too, works all muscles and builds general fitness.

You don?t need to work the mid-section to lose weight from the mid-section. With a doctor?s approval, add one weight lifting exercise for a body part not involving a lot of bending of the waist, every other week.


Working surrounding muscles can strengthen the week and injured muscles through an ?indirect effect,? without actually working the injured muscles. I have heard of therapists using this technique on athletes.


If the doctor approves, Yoga might be a good exercise for the waist to improve strength and flexibility of her midsection until she gets strong and flexible enough to progress to weighted exercises. I am making assumptions about her basic ability to work out though.