Upper body cardio?
August 26, 2010 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Cardio exercise options for someone who can't strain their legs more than 10 to 15 mins, and doesn't have access to gym equipment?

A 40 something male has been advised by his doctor to exercise (45-60 mins of brisk walking 5 or 6 times a week) for mental health reasons. The guy has bolts in one leg from when he fractured a leg, many years ago. These bolts make walking, running, etc., very painful after 10-15 mins. He doesn't have access to a gym or swimming pool, which most of my internet search results lead to. That, or ads to sell exercise programs, which I'm in no position to evaluate...

What exercise(s) can I suggest to him that would elevate his heart rate for that 45-60 mins? I would really like to be able to help him figure this out.
posted by bardophile to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Can he do yoga? He could get a yoga DVD and do it at home...and depending on his strength, he could get into more and more physically demanding types of yoga. Flow or vinyasa yoga will definitely get his heart rate up without the hopping around usually associated with cardio.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:33 PM on August 26, 2010

posted by makonan at 6:36 PM on August 26, 2010

I came in here to say Shovelglove, too! I had ankle surgery last week, so my right leg is in a cast. I'm actually doing the Shovelglove exercises in a chair, and my heart rate is still in cardio range. I would guess that if you can tolerate standing for 45-60 minutes, Shovelglove with a light sledgehammer would be just the thing for you.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:48 PM on August 26, 2010

If it's within his budget, he could consider buying or leasing an ergometer, which is basically a stationary bike for your arms. The gym at my university had one, and it's no joke-- you can get an incredible cardio workout from just a few minutes at it.

If he has to go equipment-free, then push ups (even just from the knee if full body pushups can't be done) would be good. Likewise shadowboxing. A modified Tae-Bo workout just focusing on punches would work well.
posted by holterbarbour at 6:59 PM on August 26, 2010

an excellent excerise is sitting in a chair and attaching ones legs to the
three straps of a omincycle excerise bike, easy to line oneself up and then
turn the pedals for 40 minutes for a good cardio workout. only problem
is few gyms have this omincycle available.
posted by tustinrick at 7:00 PM on August 26, 2010

Sounds weird that his doctor would recommend something that is clearly not physically possible! He should go back to his doctor and ask for advice specific to him rather than generic advice that isn't practicable.
posted by finding.perdita at 7:28 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by gillianr at 7:47 PM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, he's planning to talk to the doc about it on his next visit. He didn't tell the doc about his specific condition.
posted by bardophile at 8:50 PM on August 26, 2010

Shadow boxing is a great workout and you can modify the footwork as needed.
posted by dorkydancer at 11:24 PM on August 26, 2010

I'm assuming it's high-impact stuff that kills his legs so... could he invest in a bicycle? Cycling certainly works the legs but in a low-impact way and it's marvellous for cardio.
posted by Decani at 4:27 AM on August 27, 2010

Taking some weights and doing a curl then overhead press will get the heart rate up. It also has some other nice side effects.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:46 AM on August 27, 2010

Get a bike. The reason running and walking are so stressful on your joints is that your legs are holding up your entire body weight, and actually catching you as you fall. On a bike, a good chunk of your weight is on the seat most of the time, and even when it isn't, you aren't actually catching yourself, as the motion is continuous.
posted by valkyryn at 7:16 AM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Cycling actually isn't an option. The same 15 mins limit applies.
posted by bardophile at 7:25 AM on August 27, 2010

maybe the Wii Sports Resort (not the Wii Fit) could be an option.
posted by mirileh at 7:38 AM on August 27, 2010

A rowing machine, maybe? If he can bend his knees, that is - the motion comes mostly from the hips and thighs, but if the bolts are in the lower leg area it should reduce some of the impact that you'd get from running/walking.
posted by zennish at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2010

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