Cardiovascular exercise can play a critical role in maintaining spine health and ensuring progress in recovery from back pain or surgery. Balancing aerobic (or cardiovascular) exercise, which works the heart, with anaerobic strengthening exercises and stretching can deliver both physical and mental benefits for back pain patients, allowing them to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
  • Relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Increase flexibility and mobility
  • Improve strength of muscles and joints that support the spine
  • Increase circulation throughout the spine and supporting structures, which is crucial to promote healing
  • Improve quality and duration of sleep

While the physical or mechanical benefits captured through exercise are important for spine health, the mental health benefits can also be substantial. Cardiovascular exercise in particular promotes the release of endorphins, biological chemicals that naturally help alleviate sensations of pain and produce overall positive feelings. Activity that leads to improved emotional well-being is particularly important for spine patients because depression and anxiety, as well as sleep problems, are common among those struggling with chronic back pain or recuperating from surgery or treatment. Cardiovascular exercise - whether in the form of walking, swimming, biking, or some other activity - can play a key role in helping decrease the pain one senses and increase positive feelings.

See 4 Tips to Help Cope With Chronic Pain and Depression


For many, ready access to home exercise equipment can make it easier to start and maintain an aerobic exercise program. Exercising in the comfort of one's own home is the preferred exercise option for many people because:

  • Exercise can be done in private
  • Workouts can be done at any time and don't require travel to another location during limited hours
  • Unlike outdoor activities home exercise is not dependent on the weather, so staying with an exercise program may be easier

Nonetheless, it can be confusing to know which type of exercise equipment to buy, and making a mistake with cardiovascular equipment can be detrimental to both physical and financial health.

This article focuses on home equipment that is designed for a cardiovascular workout. Other types of exercise equipment for resistance training and exercise (e.g., Swiss Exercise Balls, a BOSU board, Dynadiscs, or body blades) are also important parts of an exercise program for back pain patients.

The types of cardiovascular home exercise equipment profiled in this article are:

  • Elliptical trainer
  • Stationary bike
  • Treadmill

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