Sports and Activities Which Are Great for Your Spine

Maintaining a healthy spine is crucial for overall well-being – sadly, most of us find that out once we’ve injured ours and need things put back in order! For this reason, Chiropractors often end up telling people to avoid certain activities (at least for a while) to help their spine recover and heal. What we get to discuss less – but what’s really much more interesting-  are sports and activities which are great for your spine! This week, let’s explore these.



Swimming is often hailed as one of the best exercises for spinal health. The buoyancy of water supports your body, reducing the stress on your spine and joints. This makes it an excellent option for people of all ages and fitness levels, including those with chronic back pain or spinal conditions. Indeed, even those who are in too much pain to preform even basic floor exercises can often manage a swim!

Swimming minimizes the risk of injury since the water supports your weight, but at the same time the resistance of water helps strengthen the core muscles, which are essential for spinal support. Regular swimming can improve the flexibility of the spine and surrounding muscles. Freestyle and backstroke are particularly beneficial as they promote a full range of motion without putting undue stress on the spine.



Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, making it a holistic approach to spinal health. The various poses and stretches in yoga help to strengthen and stretch the muscles that support the spine. Yoga improves the flexibility of the spine and the muscles around it, reducing stiffness and enhancing mobility. Many yoga poses require the engagement of core muscles, providing support to the spine. Regular practice helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine and corrects posture. Cat-Cow, Downward-Facing Dog, and Child’s Pose are excellent for spinal health as they promote flexibility and strength. We should note that some of the more extreme yoga poses can result in injury if you’re not sure what you’re doing – so, stick to the basics, or attend a class for some professional guidance.



Cycling is another low-impact sport that can be very beneficial for spinal health – the combination of speed and off-road potential also make it great fun! Cycling strengthens the muscles in the lower back and promotes cardiovascular fitness, which is also essential for overall health. Cycling reduces the risk of spinal injury since it doesn’t involve high-impact movements (assuming you have a bike with proper suspension!) The pedalling motion also engages the lower back muscles, helping to strengthen them.

Maintaining a proper cycling posture is important here – doing so supports spinal alignment and reduces the risk of back pain, whereas poor posture can put additional strain on your body, therefore,  ensure your bike is properly adjusted to fit your body and style



Walking is a simple yet highly effective exercise for maintaining spinal health. It’s a low-impact activity that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Regular walking encourages an upright posture, which is beneficial for spinal alignment. Walking, while simple, also engages the core and lower back muscles which are ultimately responsible for providing essential support to the spine.

Walking regularly also helps maintain flexibility in the spine and surrounding muscles, which can reduce your chance of injury during more intense exercise. Aim for a brisk pace and maintain good posture, with your head up and shoulders back, to maximise the benefits for your spine.



Pilates focuses on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness, making it an excellent exercise for spinal health. It involves controlled movements that improve the strength and stability of the spine. Pilates exercises target the deep abdominal muscles, which are crucial for spinal support. Regular Pilates practice can actually help to correct posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine and addressing imbalances.

Like many lower-impact exercises, pilates can also help to improve the flexibility of the spine and surrounding muscles, reducing the risk of injury during other points of the dat. The Hundred, Single Leg Stretch, and Spine Stretch Forward are particularly beneficial for spinal health as they promote strength and flexibility in the core and spine.


Protect your spine the fun way!

Engaging in the right sports and exercises can significantly contribute to spinal health – and in some cases might even help recovery (check with your chiropractor on this one though!). Swimming, yoga, cycling, walking, and Pilates are excellent choices that promote flexibility, strength, and proper alignment of the spine, and can be great fun too.

If you’re struggling with back pain and want to get back to exercise, why not pop in for a chat-  we’ll have you back to being active in no time!



Blog by / June 15, 2024 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007