Exercise for the freshly hobbled
May 24, 2010 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Can you suggest some exercise for the freshly hobbled?

Summer's here, and my plan to work off my gut with vigorous biking went off the tracks when I went over the handlebars. (In truth, I don't think I was biking vigorously enough anyway, and it was time to step up.)

So here I am with a cast over a broken hand-bone (scaphoid, I'm told) for 6-12 weeks. Additionally, I've got a bad knee that can't be run on, which the doctors are pondering surgery on. So running is out for now.

Where to go from here, AskMe? I'd like something that will both give me cardio and help get my upper body in shape. What's the best option for someone with one busted hand and one iffy knee?

(ps. bonus karma for anyone with sharp ideas about how to take a fibreglass/cloth cast to the beach)
posted by bicyclefish to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cast protector for the beach! I knew a kid who swam all summer in one of these.
posted by artychoke at 8:10 AM on May 24, 2010

Can you turn a jump rope with your busted hand? Some rope skipping might do the trick, if you can. Otherwise, one-armed dumbbell / kettlebell swings (along with dumbbell snatches and cleans) with your good hand might work. I've always thought of these as primarily a metabolic conditioning / "cardio" exercise as opposed to strength exercises. The problem is that with only one hand, you'll get some imbalances that you'll have to work extra hard to remedy when your cast comes off.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2010

This is sour grapes, but maybe rest until everything is healed up? You may just bust more stuff. Knees a finicky things.

Just got off 6 months of a crap knee myself. Sucks, but it's so nice to get back, when you do get back.
posted by alex_skazat at 10:05 AM on May 24, 2010

Work on some postural exercises and your walk, and maybe you'll heal your knee:

Walk Yourself Well helped me end my knee pain.

Also, while I'm not necesarily an advocate of Bikram the man, his series of 26 yoga poses was supposedly designed to rehabilitate his back and knees after some weightlifting problems. Most of the twenty six poses are done without using the hands. If you haven't done yoga before I would suggest going to a few classes to make sure you are getting the body positioning correct before going out on your own. Its a little confusing trying to learn from a photograph.

Here's a link to the poses
posted by GregorWill at 10:37 AM on May 24, 2010

Can you get your bike up on a trainer and ride indoors in a more upright position, or borrow an upright or recumbant bike, or get a short-term gym membership for a couple of months? (U of T lets you get memberships by the month, and it's cheaper if you're an alumnus.) I've found that my bad knees feel much better if I get a lot of cycling in as long as I spin a lot and don't use too much resistance. You can use the time to catch up on podcasts, too. No spinning classes, though, as you need to be able to bear your weight on your hands for that.

You can probably continue core exercises, like curls, that won't require the use of a hand. But gaining any upper body strength is going to be hard without the balance of two functioning hands. I wouldn't try any weighted exercise using just your good hand (lifting a pint excepted, of course). Commit yourself to full-fledged weight training after you've healed.
posted by maudlin at 12:18 PM on May 24, 2010

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