Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Exercising Whilst Injured

Disclaimer : I am not a medical or sports professional. If you must know, I'm not even sure I could pass a 3rd grade assessment. (To prove my point : I previously misspelled "assessment", had to use spell-checker, and correct it before continuing.)  All that I share with you is simply my experience.

I hear you, I hear you..."We miss seeing pictures of your boot!" "Where's that delightful Summer wardrobe piece?!" Here you go :
Dear hateful boot ,
 I do not miss you.
Sincerely, Jenn


I'm calling my current running state : transition. I've been running, nice and slowly, for brief segments of my walks. This has been happening for about a week. I'll have a whole 'nother post dedicated to transition. For now, though, we'll take a step back to examine : How To Stay Sane While You Are Unable To Run.

Each situation is, obviously, very different and should be treated as such. Runner's World has a good article regarding injury prevention. In it, there's also a brief guideline for what you may or may not be able to substitute for running, depending on the nature of your injury/health situation.

Bottom line : If you love to run...if Running Moves You (haha...I shamelessly plugged my OWN blog on MY blog! I'm such a loser...) then there's really no substitute for running. Yes, there are bumloads of ways to exercise, maintain cardio and try to keep physically fit. They. AreNOT. Running.

Also, due to the nature of my injury (anterior fibular stress fracture. thanks for asking!) there was actually very little I was cleared to do, exercise-wise. The hated elliptical machine was out, as was riding on an actual bike. (stationary was ok). No running , walking,  break-dancing, zumba, aerobics, belly-dancing, jumping rope...you get the idea. I, like a lot of injured runners, was unable to engage in any weight-bearing or impact-based activities. Blech.

As you can imagine, after a few hours days, I was ready to climb the walls, in frustration.

not literally, as The Middlest enjoys doing

If you ever find yourself, as a runner, unable to run. Here is a list of alternative activities that should keep you off the walls and (mostly) sane.

  • Pool Running  - I devoted a small post (It's No Joke), with links and references, to this. I know not everyone has access to a pool. If you do, though, this is a lifesaver. I have been continuing my pool running, even now that I'm running on land, again. My favorite: Kick and splash, spastically, at the excess part of the strap on your AquaBelt because you thought it was a pool creature attacking you.
  • Upper Body Workouts - Traditional : You can modify a lot of workout DVDs/Videos, and upper body moves to keep you off your feet. I sat on a chair, couch or sturdy coffee table and bicep-curled my little heart out. It may not be something you feel comfortable doing at the gym, but, at home, you'll be surprised how many exercises you can modify to accommodate a lower body injury. My favorite: Wave your hands and pointed finger at various items you'd like your children to fetch for you. All day. Quality exercise for you AND them!
  • Abs - while I was nervous to perform any full plank variations, I did bust on some sets that kept my knees on the mat. Also, sit-ups, crunches, torso twists, V-sits...they were all a-okay. My favorite : Clench your gut as tight as you can to avoid yelling profanities at the random runner jaunting happily past your car.
  • Glutes - This was a perfect time to strengthen that oft-neglected body part! Clamshells, donkey kicks (on my knees), reverse scissors, etc. No weight, no impact, plenty of focus on building that special set of muscles. My favorite: Wiggle around, while sitting on the couch, to the catchy song on your ipod. Your 14-year-old child will take his friend and run away, in horror. Again, 2 birds with one stone!
  • All-Time Favorite: Constantly complain, whine, blog and  moan about your injury to every person you come in contact with. They will love it and you will be exercising the heck out of your jaw muscles.
If all else fails, though, feel free to go visit this girl. She'll make you one of her (now famous) margaritas and all your non-running worries will disappear...

How do you deal with a running hiatus?