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What is the best exercise for lower back pain - Capital Osteopathy - Ottawa

What is the Best Exercise for Lower Back Pain?

Do you live in Ottawa, and are you trying to find the best exercise for lower back pain?

If so, you are in the right place.

Today I will tell you what I consider the best exercise for lower back pain.

What is the best exercise for lower back pain?

Before I tell you what I consider the best, let’s discuss the pros and cons of the different choices.


I am a huge fan of yoga. It has been shown to have many health benefits. Yoga helps to strengthen core muscles and increases flexibility which is key to preventing lower back pain.

In my opinion, yoga is one of the most physically demanding exercises I have tried. It seems to work every muscle in your body. It appears that if you have a physical weakness, then yoga will expose it.

On this note, I observed several yoga teachers have lower back issues. Because of this observation, I do not think yoga causes lower back pain. Rather I believe that yoga highlights that somebody has an underlying reason for developing lower back pain. For one of my instructors, who I am treating, the cause of lower back pain was her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Once we started to help her IBS, her owner back pain improved.

I need a community to motivate me to exercise. I am not a big fan of doing exercise on your own. I never give tasks to people because they rarely find the time or motivation to do them. Yoga classes have a double benefit of exercise and the healing properties of a community.


I have never been a strong swimmer, so I have never enjoyed it as an exercise. Whether you enjoy doing an exercise is an important factor to consider when choosing the best one if you have lower back pain.

You are more likely to do it if you like it!

Just like yoga, it is an all-body exercise which could represent a problem. However, at the same time, it is non-weight bearing, so it is less physically demanding.

Swimming lacks the benefits of community. A good compromise might be aquaerobics that a group setting.

My biggest reservation about swimming is to do with pool water.

Unless you have a nearby lake or freshwater pool, most people are restricted to using chlorinated public pools.

We use Chlorine for its antibacterial properties. However, although it helps kill bacteria in the pool, it harms our bacteria or microbiome.


A large proportion of my Ottawa clients enjoy cycling. In the summer, some cycle to work.

For somebody with lower back pain, cycling is an excellent form of exercise because it is non-weight bearing.

Like swimming, most people cycle independently, so motivation can be an issue.

Cycling is also dependent on the weather. And in the winter, only a few brave Ottawans are seen on their bike.


Walking is probably the oldest form of exercise known to man. It requires no special equipment or facilities. You can do it virtually anywhere and at any time of the year.

It requires no special equipment or facilities.

You can do it almost anywhere and at any time of the year.

Living in the country, I walk less than I did in town because I have to drive everywhere. Hence for myself, there is a motivation issue.

Owning a dog would be motivation. However, I am not sure my five cats would appreciate the gesture.

Walking is the perfect exercise if you live in town, especially if you live close enough to walk to work.

The best exercise for lower back pain

The above four forms of exercise are the ones I consider the most for people with lower back pain.  

Is there a best exercise for lower back pain for you?

The answer is yes, but it depends on key factors, including enjoyment, motivation and community.

Walking is the most popular exercise I prescribe for people with lower back pain.

To You Need Help

If yes, I suggest you book a free osteopathy discovery session with me to see if my approach to helping back pain suits your needs.


The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply this information without first speaking with your doctor.

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