I can't deal.
July 9, 2013 5:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm a serious marathoner and triathlete who underwent foot surgery almost 2 weeks ago for a chronic foot infection. Lack of cardio is killing me. Help.

I can't hit the pool for at least 2 months, so that is out. Weights are already driving m nuts because I need to get my cardio on, either through running or biking, except I can't due to not being weight bearing. Any other suggestions? I have another 12 weeks of this. Ugh.

Also - has anyone tried the hands free crutch? Is it ridiculous?
posted by floweredfish to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you row / erg?
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:38 PM on July 9, 2013

Response by poster: Forgot to add - the surgical site was the joint between my small toe and 5th metatarsal.
posted by floweredfish at 5:49 PM on July 9, 2013

How about an arm ergometer/mini cycle that you do with your hands. The spin class with big windows that I walk by always has a couple people on the arm-bikes, and they always look like they're cardio-ing it up. I know gyms are starting to have them, but it looks like you could buy one for a reasonable price also.
posted by brainmouse at 5:51 PM on July 9, 2013

Do you have a gym membership? If so, look for an upper body ergometer. This thing will get you sweating and elevate your heart rate.
posted by Fairchild at 5:51 PM on July 9, 2013

Can you hand cycle?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:52 PM on July 9, 2013

My gym has an arm bike and you really can get a pretty good cardio workout (and kick-ass shoulders).
posted by Pax at 5:55 PM on July 9, 2013

Nthing upper body ergometer. I used the ones at my gym post-ACL tear and again post-surgery, and it kept me sane until I could use my leg again.
posted by outfielder at 7:07 PM on July 9, 2013

I had to do the hand cycle or whatever it's called when I did PT for my neck. Holy crap it's hard! You'll definitely work up a sweat.
posted by radioamy at 7:36 PM on July 9, 2013

Nthing the arm-bike. The gym at my old office had one - holy shit that was as cardio-rrific as any regular bicycle.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:14 PM on July 9, 2013

My answer, which you will hate (and I don't mean to be all arrogant - even if it comes out that way) is, "Relax". Maybe taking a bit off (if you're this serious Triathlete/Marathoner) is just what your body needs, who knows? You won't become a blob in two months and you now have time to do all the things you've forfeited with your hectic schedule of training. 2 months will probably go pretty fast. And it is, in the grand scheme of things.

When I had knee problems (one knee), I became shitty, moody and drove everyone around me nuts. I rode my bike with one-leg just to say, "hey, FUCK YOU INJURY". But, maybe I should have just patiently waited, learned to, "Relax" and used that time to work on other things.

And - yeah, yeah, yeah - you have all these goals you MUST HIT and whatever. Face that you can't use your legs 100%. Relax. Reschedule. Change your plans. Breathe. Be a little flexible. Maybe what you can do with weights will just have to suffice. Healthy adaptive systems need constant change. I'm sure you have many weaknesses you can work on, that don't involve running, swimming, or cycling.

And hey, guess what? Now people write front page magazine articles about me. Took a summer slow and then, "bam", big huge, ultra endurance poster boy. Stay hungry, stay hungry, stay hungry.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:30 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Are you near any open water? Sea Kayak / Canoeing can be pretty strenuous, and won't require much from your feet once you board.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:45 PM on July 9, 2013

What you want is upper body only parts of CrossFit workouts. Go to a CrossFit gym or CrossFit.com and start adapting things. Pull ups and dips are aerobic if you do them fast, and sit ups can be also. Can you do push ups on one leg?
posted by medusa at 10:22 PM on July 9, 2013

Maybe useless to you until you can at least stand with a little added weight, but I'll plug clubbells, which I regularly use for my aerobic work (and have been able to keep up even during a few back and knee tweaks). Kettlebells are another option, though a little heavier and less smooth, as is the aforementioned upper body/core weightlifting or bodyweight movements.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 11:09 PM on July 9, 2013

Do you have a boot that you could put on while using a rowing machine? Have you tried upper-body complexes (as medusa suggests) like pull-ups, dips, overhead presses and so on with short rest periods between rounds of maximal or near-maximal reps?
posted by daveliepmann at 6:47 AM on July 10, 2013

IANAnExercisePerson, but what if you did something on your back with your legs in the air? Think of a turtle or a bug turned upside down and how they flail their legs around. Lay on your back and move your legs/arms up/down/in/out/pumping back and forth, etc. Make yourself a routine (2 minutes pumping this way, then change and do 2 minutes pumping the other way, 2 minutes imitating "climb a ladder", or whatever).

You could do this flat on your back, or mostly on your butt with your back at an incline, either self-supported or use something like a lounge chair to lean against. Or look at chair exercises and sit up straight with your legs sticking out in front.

It might put a lot of strain on your abs, so beware of that.
posted by CathyG at 7:56 AM on July 10, 2013

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