Exercise tips for half my body?
November 18, 2021 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I find myself without the use of one leg for an indeterminate period of time. I need exercises for the rest of my body.

Thanks to an unfortunate cycling incident, I have what is suspected to be some pretty bad either ACL or MCL damage to my left knee. Until I can get in to confirm that diagnosis (urgent care ruled out a break but referred me to an orthopedic doc early next week), I'm in a full-leg immobilizing splint, and using crutches to get around.

I do desk work, and I work from home, but even after one day I can tell that I need exercises to strengthen my core, and also make sure my right side is correctly compensating (and not overcompensating) for my lack of use of the left side. I also can only really sit in one position comfortably right now, so any chair-based movement exercises for the upper body/core/one leg would be great to break up the monotony. I'm discovering in all this that my core is suuuuuuuper weak, and I need it to be stronger so I can hoist myself up and bring myself down without feeling like a felled tree.

Ideally these would be exercises I could do while sitting, or maybe even standing and leaning with my back against a wall or something. Lying down on the floor is not an option for me right now, because getting up from a prone position is not easy (unless there's an exercise I can do lying in bed).

I have access to resistance bands, and I have bags of rice and a 30 lb bucket of cat litter that I can use as weights. I'm in decent shape overall so I wouldn't be starting from zero, but I'm new to having limited mobility, so in that sense I kind of am starting from zero.

At some point, I'm sure there will be PT involved in the recovery from this, and I'll get structured exercise support; right now I need to prevent myself from turning to a lopsided pile of mush until I get to that point.
posted by pdb to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Chair yoga is a thing! I know there is at least one class on Glo, an excellent fitness app I use - there are also many yoga and Pilates classes taught by excellent teachers to address specific types of injury and recovery. Free trial for - a week, maybe? And $18 a month after that.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 5:27 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]

Remember that using crutches means you are in fact starting a weightlifting regime, so that will be a somewhat regular workout for your arms! (Forearm crutches are easier to maneuver with than underarm but it's still a workout.)

If you can sit on a stool or armless chair, you can - while seated - do waist twists, toe touches (alternating with raising your arms into the air), and side bends to work your core.
posted by brainwane at 7:45 PM on November 18

When I had a badly sprained ankle, I turned to shadow boxing. Great for the core AND upper body. You can stand, sit on a chair, or (for bonus points) sit on a yoga ball.
posted by writermcwriterson at 7:54 AM on November 19

Hips and core are your friends when you’re off crutches, which means ab, glute, and hamstring workouts are your friends right now.
posted by executive_dysfuncti0n at 9:20 AM on November 19

Best answer: I used seated cardio videos on youtube (chair cardio/seated cardio) when I was unable to use my leg for a few weeks. I was very pleasantly surprised with almost all of them. Here's one with a seated option. You can really sweat with those things. You can also search seated core exercises. A lot of these videos are geared to seniors but I'm a fit 50ish year old and I found them very helpful. Many of the exercises can be made more difficult with bands or light weights. If there was an exercise I couldn't do I'd just replace it with one I could. My motto when it comes to exercise is "something is better than nothing".

Once you are able to get on the ground you can move to many of the regular FIIT type core exercises like Russian twists and leg raises, maybe even one legged planks depending on how strong your core is by then. Orange theory has good 20 minute core routines but they are much more challenging and do require standing sometimes so you need to skip some of the options and replace them with non weight bearing options.
posted by Cuke at 9:27 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]

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