Keeping Fit on Crutches

From an informal poll I took on New Year’s Eve, most people view recovery from surgery as a time to veg out, catch up on TV and generally ignore exercise. For me, it’s precious weeks off from the aerobic base I’ve spent the last 36 months building. As such, I’ve been “working out” almost since surgery. Granted I’ve been limited by the instruction to not weight bear and the sheer of ice over Burlington, but I’ve made do and found some entertaining websites in the process.

First, I googled “chair workouts.” I figured that there must be people who have limited mobility that still like to workout and I’m not the first person on crutches. It turns out that they run the gamut but that YouTube is full of personal trainers with “great cardio workouts.” I’ve tried a couple of them but my two favorites are the following:

Chair Cardio by Trainer Trish (tough on already tired crutch arms)

Seated Cardio by Spark People

Ridiculous as it may sound for someone who runs 70 miles a week, I’m working through these videos every day, with a goal of adding reps of the first workout and completing the whole second workout. In concert with my crutch to and from our classroom, this comprises most of my daily workout. I’m also doing as much strength training as I can, primarily upper body and core. I figure that if I can come out of this with great arms, I’m ahead of the game.

After finding out that UVM’s handicap doors don’t work and crutching half a mile on ice tonight due to some jerk parked in the handicapped space without a permit, I googled “keeping fit on crutches” for entertainment. I learned that crutching for 10 minutes burns 50 calories and got some not-so-useful tips on “surviving crutches.” The article is right about the bag (I have a backpack for school and a lovely Vera Bradley tote for home), but misses just about everything else including what to do if an ice storm hits (tiny steps!), how to not show everyone how sweaty you are (black everything) and ways to style your hair when showering is just too damn hard (low bun, works every time).

Thankfully, I only have about another week on crutches. Next week, I see Mark and transition to my walking boot. Assuming the ice is gone by then, this will make coaching and life in general much easier. I also look forward to many boring hours on the bike and in the pool.

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