Get fit with das boot?
September 6, 2012 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I just scheduled bunion surgery for next week after finding out I had a stress fracture caused by the bunion and was going to have to rehab that anyway. I am looking for ideas for how to exercise with a walking boot. Details below.

I am about 15-20 pounds overweight, and had been run/walking for exercise as I live very close to an excellent running trail (Town Lake in Austin). However, after surgery, I will need to wear a walking boot for 4-6 weeks. I was in a walking boot a few years ago for a different stress fracture, and I gained a significant amount of weight, and I don't want that to happen again.


-- I live in a small apartment on the second floor. I don't mind working out in my apartment, but I am trying to be a conscientious neighbor to the girl who lives downstairs.

-- In my apartment, I have 3 pound weights, a yoga mat, a foam roller and that's it. I don't want to buy more equipment, because I have TONS in storage that I can't access right now

-- I have an apartment gym that has an elliptical, treadmill, recumbent bike, free weights, bench, and a small little one piece weight machine.

-- I do not have access to a pool where I can swim laps although this is somewhat obvious solution. I could technically join one but money is a bit tight (I'm unemployed) and I'm not yet 100% sure whether I'll be able to drive. I drive a manual, and I haven't gotten the OK from my doctor to take the boot off to drive.

I'm trying to get fit, not just lose weight -- but I'm open to diet ideas. I love love love to cook and bake. I'd also love ideas just on productive things to do other than watch TV all day. I knit, sew, and do other crafty things, but all of my supplies are unfortunately in storage.

Thanks in advance!
posted by hrj to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hello! I have been in a walking boot for the past five weeks. I am also on a food/fitness thing. I found that I had to do two things pretty regularly.

1. Really watch what I ate more than usual to keep from lack-of-exercise weight gain to creep in
2. Work on my upper body a lot - this meant a lot of hand weight stuff but also some sitting down stuff like kayaking, situps and leg lifts that weren't foot-centered.

My PT also suggested water-walking, like putting on one of those floaty belts and just walking around the pool, in case you do wind up getting pool access. You may get the okay from your physical therapist or your doc to use things like the recumbent bike if you are careful and/or use it with just the one leg [stupid but it's still exercise]. The most important thing to my mind was staying eating healthily, if less, and just trying to keep my morale up to keep from getting into bad eating/sloth habits because I was bummed from lack of exercise.
posted by jessamyn at 8:31 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

i agree with jessamyn that you will have to be vigilant about what and how much you eat and doing a lot of upper body work. when I has my bunion surgery, i was so drugged up for a couple of weeks, i was basically bed-ridden, and afterward when i was able to walk around in the boot, i tried to put as little pressure as possible on it bc basically there was a metal pin sticking out of my foot, holding it straight until the doctor deemed it was time to remove it. the recuperation was not fun, but i didn't gain any weight bc i really had no appetite due to the painkillers i was on.
posted by violetk at 8:39 AM on September 6, 2012

If you have a YMCA or similar near you, you should talk to them about sliding scale fees. Our local Y has a very, very low rate for the unemployed/otherwise poor/whatever. 'Cause a pool would be indeed very helpful.

Or do any of your pals live at an apartment building with a pool? They might be able to help you out.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:59 AM on September 6, 2012

Jessamyn -- That is very helpful. I was hoping to not have to "diet" but it may be inevitable, especially if I want to lose, but I may just have to lower my expectations to not gain.

I do have an apartment pool that is not good for swimming, but I may be able to walk in it, but that would be super boring as it is a small pool overall, especially the shallow side.

Violetk -- Not I'm getting scared! I'm talking to the doctor on Tuesday to find out more about the actual procedure, but as I understand I should be able to walk around on the walking boot after 3 days or so. I've been given prescription painkillers before, but never felt drugged, so I was probably on a pretty low dose.

BlahLaLa- See above re: apartment pool. It is quite small, more for lounging in front of than actual swimming, and it is also kind of gross. There is a YMCA nearby in what I would normally call biking distance. I should check out if they have a sliding scale or a temporary membership, as we really are trying to save money while I'm unemployed and we are planning to buy a house in the next 6 months.
posted by hrj at 9:22 AM on September 6, 2012

If you have access to a small pool, I wonder if you could do water aerobics; they don't require you to swim laps as far as I know. Your city's Parks and Rec department also might be able to provide low-cost pool access.
posted by windykites at 9:38 AM on September 6, 2012

I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be doing water aerobics while all of my neighbors are lying around the pool, might be weird.

The issue with pools is more the transportation, then the access.
posted by hrj at 11:40 AM on September 6, 2012

I had bunion surgery last Fall and I just watched my diet and walked as much as I could even when I was on crutches. Once I was able to get up and down stairs easily I used my Concept2 rower in the basement since it doesn't require you to stand to use it (I'm still using it even though I got back to my regular exercise routine). I don't know how noisy they are, however. The recumbent bike might be a good substitute if you can handle getting the foot into the pedals. Add in some work with weights for your arms which you can do while seated.

I'd be concerned about being in a pool while your stitches are still fresh (I got to be a whiz at the sponge bath). It should be fine once your doctor says it's okay to get the incision area wet.
posted by tommasz at 1:15 PM on September 6, 2012

yes, as tommasz points out, you can't get your foot wet until the stitches have been removed, so you won't be able to go into a pool anyway.
posted by violetk at 1:47 PM on September 6, 2012

Ah, see, I didn't even think about stitches. I've only had surgery once for a broken nose, and no stitches (or cutting for that matter).

Recumbent bike and weights might be the best option. I've never really been in good shape, and I started working out this summer and finally lost a few pounds, which are starting to creep up since the stress fracture. The only routines I've been able to follow are running and yoga -- two things I can't do for awhile.

Any tips for upper body weight routines? The only weights I've done are more full body circuit stuff and that wouldn't really work.
posted by hrj at 3:23 PM on September 6, 2012

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