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Cardio for gimps
January 17, 2008 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Are there any good bare-bones cardio workouts I can do while staying off an injured foot?

I've got a tendon injury in my left foot that makes it painful to walk, run, or do much that involves flexing/putting weight on it in any significant manner. I've tried foregoing the cardio portion of my exercise for a couple of weeks, and had the inflammation recede, but it always comes back once I start again, so I assume I'm not giving it enough time to heal.

I usually either jog or run stairs to get my requisite cardio in, but now this exacerbates the injury. Is there an alternate cardio workout that can be done in which the injured area can be avoided?

The twist: I don't have access to a gym, pool, bicycle, or any manner of specialised equipment. Basically just a balance ball and whatever you'd find in your standard apartment. (Hence my question; I've seen these threads, but the former doesn't address cardio specifically, and the latter focuses mostly on swimming as an alternate activity.)
posted by the luke parker fiasco to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'll be watching this thread with great interest... I'm in a similar situation with a fractured sesamoid.
posted by odi.et.amo at 11:09 AM on January 17, 2008


There are various cardio workouts to perform while seated, and while they're usually aimed at people working out for the very first time, but YMMV. You could also pick up a simple boxing workout DVD and modify to it where you're just focusing on the arm movements and the simple, simple standing workouts (you don't have to do exactly what the DVD tells you to so).

That being said, if I were you, I'd focus on some weight training and abdominal strength workouts. It can't hurt you while you're temporarily not running.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:14 AM on January 17, 2008


Cool Papa Bell-- I'm continuing the strength training I've been doing, but I'm also working out for weight loss purposes, and the only times I've ever successfully dropped weight is when I've incorporated cardio, so I'm loath to give it up for the extended timeframe that tendon/ligament injuries take to heal. I'll be looking into your boxing suggestion, though, as well as possibly modifying the seated exercise stuff for nonbeginner stamina.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 11:18 AM on January 17, 2008


Is there a hand bike at your gym? Sometimes I warm up my arms on those, but I see people using them for cardio.

And I don't know the extent of your injury, but would the rowing machine work for you if you don't put too much pressure on your left foot?
posted by spec80 at 11:27 AM on January 17, 2008


You could try some of the Crossfit workouts, like Barbara:

Do 5 Rounds of:
20 pullups
30 pushups
40 situps
50 squats (might be tough with the injury)
Take a 3 minute break between each round.


This will get your heartrate up in a hurry, and will keep it there for the 35+ minutes it will take to do this.
posted by tiburon at 11:29 AM on January 17, 2008


How sore is it? If you lay on your back and raiseyour knees perpendicular to the floor, can you gently pedal your legs without aggravating it? This will be mostly an abdominal workout (as you'll notice after a few moments), with absolutely no weight on your legs. If you do this gently, you could probably keep it up for several minutes per set.

Also, you don't need a dvd to get the benefit of boxing training. Just do a simple straight punches with fully extended, relaxed arms, one after the other for as long as you can. That's too easy? Okay, now do it with a roll of quarters in each fist.
posted by hermitosis at 11:29 AM on January 17, 2008


This is another great Crossfit workout that will bring you close to death in about 16 minutes:


"Tabata Something Else"

Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are pull-ups, the second 8 are push-ups, the third 8 intervals are sit-ups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are squats. There is no rest between exercises.

Score is the reps from all 32 intervals.
posted by tiburon at 11:32 AM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I read an article several years ago that reported the results of a particular study - that professional orchestra conductors, though often overweight, tested at excellent levels of cardiovascular fitness. Further study determined that it was due to the hours of sweeping arm movements they made daily; it provided as much cardio exercise as walking or jogging.
A book to that effect has been published, in fact. Perhaps you can sit in a chair and "conduct" some of your favorite music for 20 or 30 minutes each day.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:48 PM on January 17, 2008


Would a rowing machine be too much for you? You can put the weight on the uninjured leg to push back, and it works out every muscle in the body.

I can typically get 92 cals per minute burned and it feels pretty hellacious when I'm done. The trainers at my gym told me that for cardio, rowing and the elliptical are the most efficient at a total-body cardio workout, but YMMV due to injury.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:21 PM on January 17, 2008


Crap, nevermind, just realized you said no gym. Sorry.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:22 PM on January 17, 2008


Oriole Adams -- I LOVE the idea of wandering my apartment, working myself to exhaustion doing my best Herbert von Karajan impression. Time to throw on Bach's Messe in h-moll, and piss off the neighbours ...
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 10:57 PM on January 17, 2008


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