If you're among the half of working Americans who'll get a backache this year, you need to get moving. Exercise is key to healing your current backache and preventing the next one. Some types of exercise, however, are bad news for backs. Others are just what the doctor ordered.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) says, "Stretching and an active lifestyle are often recommended to help reduce back pain and speed the recovery process following an injury." They recommend overall fitness and a good cardiovascular exercise program to prevent back pain.

Health care professionals recommend 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to four days per week. The ACA advises patients with back issues that, "until you've recovered from back pain, select low-impact activities that burn calories, but won't place undue stress on your joints." Walking, swimming, biking, the treadmill and elliptical trainers are good choices, but even they can cause back pain when used with poor posture. Let's take a look at what's good and what's bad for backs.

Walking
  • Bad: Your head juts out in front, shoulders are hunched forward, your abdomen pooches and your low back is swayed. You wear unsupportive shoes and walk on concrete. When you walk on the treadmill, you walk so fast you grab on to the sidebars for balance and stability.