Maintaining physical strength, flexibility, and endurance is crucial to our long term outcomes. Spine fusion surgery is absolutely no excuse to not exercise or maintain a strong level of physical fitness. However, not all forms of exercise will be the right exercise for us. I am not a fan of intense physical exercise such as crossfit, heavy lifting, or boot camp style classes. Our bodies need to move mindfully. Slow and control is the motto. Here are some general guidelines:
- Walk rather than run ! Running places compression on our unfused disc space, not to mention compression on other joints. Pick up the speed and race walk.
- Swim. Swimming is a great non impact form of exercise and especially good for strengthening the back.
- Pilates and Barre classes. Myself and others have found success with most forms of Pilates and Barre. Sometimes modifications have to be made especially with the abdominal segments. If it hurts don't do it! No pain, no gain is NOT a motto we use after spinal fusion. Jessica Von Deurring is a Pilates instructor also with a spine fusion from scoliosis. Visit her website to learn more at www.coabaltpilates.com
- Short 10-15 minute exercises program a day rather than long extended exercise sessions. This is how I exercise these days. My body tolerates shorter sessions better than longer, and I'm more consistent in committing to daily activity when it's 10-15 minutes a day. Youtube and the internet in general is a fabulous resource for various guided exercise programs.