Spondylolisthesis and Fitness

For various reasons, there was a span of about five weeks through late April and all of May where I didn’t do any extra physical activity, barring a couple of walks. I went from being active for 30-45 minutes a day, three days a week, to nothing for five weeks straight.

It should have been no big surprise, then, that my return to yoga class wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. My reduced core strength (among other factors, I’m sure) resulted in spondy-related lower back pain that lingered all week. For class the following week, I tried to take it easy and make appropriate modifications, but engaging my lower back was not a pleasant thing. Upward dog was just not happening, and even standing up from a lunge to warrior pose was challenging on one side.

Today was my regularly scheduled monthly visit with my chiropractor. I told her everything, and she informed me that backbends are now out of the question. No more upward dog. So, now I get to figure out how to modify my yoga flow to suit my non-backbendy needs.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of starting a weight training regimen of some sort, so I asked her: If I went to the weights side of the gym, what sorts of things would make you say, “Oh, don’t you dare”? Her answer, as a whole: anything weight-bearing that engages the lower back muscles. She said no back extensions, and nothing where I would bend over and pick something up from the floor and straighten up — no deadlifts or kettlebells.

(The bodybuilding.com link above specifically suggests a rowing motion in lieu of deadlifts, for those of us with lower back issues.)

I already knew that something like Crossfit, as much as I would like to try it someday, really isn’t for me. The WODs (Workouts Of the Day, for those not familiar with the parlance) tend to include running and box jumps, which are impactful and therefore out of the question. Now I know that the Olympic lifting is not an option, either, with very limited exceptions. Which is really too bad, because the idea of lifting heavy things and working toward lifting heavier things actually does appeal to me.

That’s not to say I can’t do any weight training — just not certain things. I still have plenty of options that won’t mess with my back. Actually, now that I’ve had time to sit back and consider, perhaps some bodyweight exercises at home might be a good place to start.

Well, in addition to getting myself back into the normal fitness class rotation, of course.

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