If you’re anything like me, I’m sure back pain has robbed you of countless fun memories.
Whether it’s planning a short uphill hike with friends or enjoying a bowling game on the weekend, you know you’ll be lying on the couch later with a stiff, aching back.
But how long will we let this chronic pain seize all the fun? This time, let’s take the fun back – one activity at a time.
Here’s a list of 15 outdoor hobbies for people with bad backs.
I think the last time I rode a cycle was as a ten-year-old. So, I was excited to know that I can enjoy this outdoor hobby once again.
Cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise that’s easy on the spine and back.
The bike’s forward-leaning position is specifically helpful for people with conditions like lumbar spinal stenosis since it reduces pressure from the lower spine.
However, you have to steer clear of rough and bumpy terrain. This can cause spinal shocks and injury – further worsening your back pain.
And lastly, just make sure that you wear the right kind of shoes, and the seat and handlebars are correctly adjusted so that it doesn’t put any strain on your back.
If you want some cardio, we have good news for you.
Swimming or any activity involving water is highly beneficial for a bad back.
It is a low-impact exercise that strengthens muscles without risks. This is because water creates resistance while relieving the body of pressure at the same time.
Another advantage is that the water’s buoyancy makes it gentle on the joints and spine.
Research has shown that swimming has a beneficial effect on several musculoskeletal conditions, which are especially helpful for people who suffer from pain and stiffness in the spine.
However, don’t get too carried away and try strokes and dives your body isn’t comfortable with.
Don’t be surprised – to date, walking is one of the most effective ways to curb back pain.
As a matter of fact – many of us wouldn’t be looking up for this article if we had included walking in everyday routine a few years back.
Several studies have shown that walking regularly can reduce pain levels in individuals with chronic back pain.
It helps to keep the joints flexible, which improves posture and relieves pressure on the back.
Likewise, walking also strengthens core muscles, hips, and legs, which is crucial to support your spine.
Lastly, it sends enough oxygen to your muscles and spinal discs – helping them heal and stay healthy. So, head out and get some fresh air.
Hiking and Running
If you’re looking for something more intense than a walk, why not try a hike? Or go for a run?
Depending on your back situation and fitness level, choose a more leisurely or more demanding hike.
Likewise, be mindful of the speed you pick up when running. It’s easy to get carried away and put too much pressure on the back later.
These two activities offer all the benefits of walking and even more so.
Just make sure that you wear the right shoes to maintain balance and take plenty of breaks as needed.
Practicing Yoga Outdoors
For me, yoga tops the list of 15 outdoor hobbies for people with bad backs. It’s something that hasn’t just helped me with my back but also my mental wellbeing.
Several yoga poses ease back pain immediately while also offering strength and flexibility to gradually avoid pain in the future.
Take your yoga mat outdoors and try a pose or two.
A 2017 research showed that people with chronic back pain are less likely to use medications after three months of yoga practice.
My favorite yoga pose is cat-cow. It not only makes the spine flexible but also stretches the torso, shoulders, and neck.
Another pose I enjoy is the extended triangle. This classic position alleviates back pain and provides full-body exercise by stretching the spine, hips, and groins.
Here are a few other excellent yoga positions for back pain:
- Downward-facing dog
- Bridge pose
- Two-knee spinal twist
- Locust pose
Now many may not consider Pilates to be an outdoor hobby, but if you’re into fitness, you’ll surely enjoy it.
Pilates’ working mechanism is quite similar to yoga, and so are the benefits it provides.
This exercise is an effective way to strengthen the core muscles and improve flexibility.
The main advantage of Pilates is that it improves deep-lying core muscles that are responsible for providing spine support.
Similarly, it helps with balance – spreading pressure evenly across your body throughout the day.
A study showed that Pilates helps to speed up back injury rehabilitation programs as well.
So, just make sure that you are in the hands of a good instructor.
Paddle Boarding is another fun outdoor hobby for people with low to moderate back pain.
You have probably heard gym lovers raving about engaging the core, right?
Turns out they’re not at all wrong. It can do wonders for your lower back.
Paddle Boarding is a fun activity that actively engages your cores, consisting of abs, hips, lower back, and buttocks.
Since it is a low-impact activity, the risks of hurting your ligaments and tendons are minimum, too.
Here are a few tips for paddle boarding with back pain:
- Get low to turn
- Make sure you’re engaging the torso
- Use a loose grip on the paddle
Head to the Playground
OK, you probably didn’t expect this to be in the 15 outdoor hobbies for people with back pain list.
But who could’ve told that the free outdoor activities with great company could be found at the neighborhood park!
Monkey bars can be used for chin-ups to build strength in the upper back and core. It’s okay if you can’t pull up all the way.
Simply hanging from the bars with your elbows slightly bent can build strength.
Likewise, parallel bars are quite similar to dip bars found in gyms. It’s another cool way to work that core.
Stand between the bars, hold your weight with your arms, ensure that your feet are off the ground, and slowly swing your legs back and forth.
Practicing Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a historic exercise that blends elements of physical exercise with relaxation techniques. Thus, it’s perfect for people with back pain like us.
Several research studies have shown that slow, focused movements of Tai Chi combined with deep breathing techniques, can seriously reduce back pain.
This mainly works by strengthening the abdomen and pelvic area muscles responsible for supporting the lower back.
Similarly, Tai Chi also enhances balance, flexibility, and aerobic endurance – all the while being low impact on the back and joints.
So, if you’re not too keen on yoga and other mainstream outdoor activities, Tai Chi can be the right choice that’ll keep your back healthy and mind entertained.
You don’t necessarily have to be outdoors to dance, but that sure does enhance the experience, doesn’t it?
From Tango and Zumba to Ballroom and Ballet, dancing can really improve your back and social life.
The pros of dancing are too many to list. To keep it short, dancing helps with pain management, improved posture, spine alignment, and strengthened cores.
There are numerous dance styles to choose from for every personality and body needs. But make sure that the style you select is low-impact and not invasive towards the spine.
And if you dance passionately enough, it even has a pain relief effect.
An overlooked benefit is that dancing is way too fun than other rehabilitation exercises for back pain.
And if it’s more fun, it’s more sustainable. So, dance away!
Astronomy is a top-notch outdoor hobby for people with bad backs and definitely the most peaceful one in our list.
This low-impact activity offers unmatched peace of mind and doesn’t involve anything strenuous to impact your back.
The general notion is that you need to have fancy equipment to watch the celestial bodies. But that’s far from the truth.
Do you know you can see a galaxy 2.5 million years away with naked eyes? The moon’s craters with binoculars?
However, make sure that you’re in a comfortable position when stargazing. It’s bound to take long hours – so, definitely don’t stand up for a long time.
If you are using telescopes, don’t crouch too much and too long and definitely don’t carry the heavy equipment.
Other than that, you’re good to go!
Metal detecting is an underdog when it comes to outdoor hobbies for people with back backs. Or lazy ones. Or as a hobby in general.
It’s filled with fun and curiosity and never too hard on the back. But it never gets enough credit!
Metal detecting as a hobby is suitable for people of all age groups. It’s a low-impact pastime that only involves walking and maybe short sprints at most.
However, it can exercise a whole lot of muscles that support your back. For instance, it strengthens the core, chest, legs, and shoulders.
Especially for people with bad backs like us, detecting metals in water can be another viable hobby.
It drastically reduces the pressure put on the bones and joints due to water’s resistance.
Today, vlogging is not just a hobby. It’s a fantastic career option that can make millions of dollars.
It’s also something people from all walks of life do.
Why don’t you give a go at it and represent us, the people with bad backs?
The content doesn’t have to be larger than life or superlative to reach people. It just needs to be something that’s made with honesty and genuine effort.
Vlogs about living with a bad back itself is a perfect place to start with. The niche isn’t too broad or too specific either.
You can chronicle the daily life, tips, tribulations, and even the activities you’ll pick up from this list.
Just make sure you don’t spend long hours at the desk, editing away.
Walking football may not seem as enticing and adrenaline-pumping as a regular football game.
But don’t go by the looks. It can be a perfect pastime for those with bad backs.
There’s no running or jogging involved. According to the rules, the tackles have to be gentle, but you can opt to go tackle-free completely.
It’s a low-impact but quite aerobic. Thereby, there are quite a few benefits for the back.
However, for me, the most lovable aspect of this sport is the social connection it offers, which the back pain has robbed me of many times.
I saved bird watching for last because I wanted to end the article with a bang.
Last month, I went bird watching for the first time in my life, and I hadn’t imagined how fun it would be.
I ended the day with a nice picnic by the woods, where I got to walk among beautiful flora and breathe cool, fresh air.
But do you know what the best part is? I wasn’t toiling with back pain when I went to bed that night at all.
Bird watching is a fun, low-impact activity that simply involves walking and analyzing.
It’s a good exercise for your brain too as you try to find all the birds camouflaging in nature.
Make sure to reach out to the activity center in your area to see if they offer such programs.
So, we’ve come to the end of the list. All 15 outdoor hobbies for people with a bad back are either tried by me or researched meticulously.
So, these should all be safe as long as you tread carefully and know your limits.
All backs and back pain stories are different. Thus, what works for someone might not work for another.
But don’t let this discomfort get in the way of having some outdoor fun. And don’t forget to opt for a healthier lifestyle so you can finally get rid of the “pain in the back”!