Saturday, August 29, 2009

Strength Training 5x More Effective Against Low Back Pain Than Aerobic Exercise

Are you one of the many people who experience low back pain? If so, you're not alone. It's estimated that approximately 80% of North Americans suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lifetimes, and for 85% of them the pain is chronic.

You're better off using strength training to reduce the pain and improve lower back function rather than aerobic exercise, according to research from the University of Alberta, done in conjunction with the University of Regina.

Study participants were people with chronic back pain. One group took part in a 16-week strength training program and used load-bearing machines, dumbbells, barbells and other resistance equipment. The second group engaged in aerobic exercise such as using an elliptical crosstrainer, walking on a treadmill, jogging, etc.

The strength training group exhibited a 60% improvement in function and pain levels compared to just a 12% improvement for the aerobicizing folks.

Robert Kell, an assistant professor of exercise physiology at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus says, "Any activity that makes you feel better is something you should pursue, but the research indicates that we get better pain management results from resistance training."

Kell believes that that the difference in results is due to the whole-body approach used with the resistance training group. He said, "We tried to strengthen the entire body and by doing that, we decreased the fatigue people felt throughout the day. They were better able to perform their activities of daily living."

The benefits of resistance training to improve the lives of back pain sufferers are clear from this and other studies. However, please be sure to get proper instruction on the right exercises to use and how to do the exercises correctly.

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