The standard piece of cardio equipment in gyms and fitness centers has long been the elliptical machine. But according to study, those who have lower back pain may want to reconsider using an elliptical machine.
An elliptical machine or cross-trainer replicates low-impact walking or running motions without putting strain on the joints. Researcher Janice Moreside is a physiotherapist with more than 30 years of clinical experience who is pursuing her PhD at the University of Waterloo.
While many individuals like using the elliptical and have had no difficulty doing so, she has discovered that a small percentage of people also develop back discomfort as a result of using it.
Stuart McGill, a professor at Waterloo who specializes in spine research, collaborates with Moreside. McGill and Moreside discovered some intriguing information on low back discomfort and elliptical machines when doing their research on the impact of hip mobility on the low back.
43 men (aged 19 to 30) participated in the study and used an elliptical trainer at two speeds: one that they independently chose and one that was 30% faster.
Length of the stride, or hand position, Moreside observed that research participants tended to assume a more contracted posture in comparison to walking. Despite varying the pace and stride length, she also discovered that the individuals twisted more on the elliptical than when walking.
Scientific research has shown that repeated spinal flexion and twisting promote degeneration and hurt. “This may not be the medium of choice for you if you’re already starting to develop a little of disc degradation or sensitivity,” Moreside said.
Avoid using the elliptical machine if you have lower back discomfort or lumbar disc issues. Experts at Treadmill Stone add that for persons with lumbar disc issues, walking would be a far better form of exercise than using an elliptical machine.
Before you Use an Ellitpical Machine
While the elliptical is not recommended for persons with lower back discomfort, it can be beneficial for those with other problems, it is crucial to remember. Being in a flexed position is frequently recommended for persons with lumbar joint issues or hip injuries, thus the elliptical machine may actually be a good type of exercise for these people.
According to Moreside, “the elliptical also does not demand as much hip extension as typical walking.” So if someone has discomfort when extending their hips or has experienced an injury, they may feel that this is extremely satisfying since they are secure and hanging onto something.
Moreside argues that there shouldn’t be any concerns when it comes to utilizing the elliptical for those of us who are pain-free and without any low back discomfort or troubles. The elliptical has several benefits, according to Moreside. “It’s a terrific workout for your gluteal muscles… and it’s a great cardiovascular workout,” she said.