Question: Any advice for someone that suffers from chronic lower back pain? I need to do cardio & weights, but not strain myself further.
Answer: Many people suffer from back pain and have to work around it in the gym. For cardiovascular exercise you want to do something that has low impact. The worst thing you can do is run or walk on a treadmill as every time you take a step you are putting the weight of your body on the joints and lower back. The best alternatives to this are using a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or swimming. The goal is to put your body in motion so you can burn calories but not have pressure on the joints. For weight training you want to keep your body as stable as possible so you aren’t bending at the waist with resistance. I would recommend doing your workout on the selectorized machines (circuit on the floor) where you can sit down and adjust your seat and control the motion of each exercise. I would have a Personal Trainer take you though the exercises (Basic 8 - see the exercises at http://mysnapfitness.com/my/workouts) and help with seat adjustments and form. It’s better to be safe than sorry.