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Fit to be tied.... Advice please? :(

Hi all. Over the spring and summer I'd finally managed to find the motivation to get myself in shape and hit the gym 5 days a week. I was thrilled with the progress I was making, and life seemed to be looking on the up and up. That is, until my summer job started...

The first day of camp (I'm a summer camp councilor) I bent over and tried to lift the back end of one of the wagons we use to take the kiddos things back and forth to the pool. Bingo. Bum back for a few weeks. I was grouchy about it, but figured I'd just take it easy till things healed and try to get back into working out when I was sure I wouldn't hurt myself.

Last week was the first week I managed to get back for more than a day at a time, and it was hell to try to start up again. I have no motivation, I'm feeling more sluggish by the day, and I just miss the energy I used to have. The real kicker is that on Friday (just as I was starting to feel good about looking forward to a full week of working out) I tripped out on the playset while I was playing tag with some of the kids, and did something funky to my knee. Now it hurts whenever I put any weight on it and bend it at the same time.

I REALLY don't want to be laid up for another two weeks. I'm afraid I won't have the motivation to get back to it if I break from it for that long. Does anyone have any suggestions for ways I could get some sort of exercise or change my workout up so that I won't have to feel useless and blah for another month? :(

Wed. Jul 19, 8:55am

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Didn't you mention a pool in your post? That is a great way to exercise without the stress on your joints and your back. I would definitely recommend that you get in the water. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 9:38 AM

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I know the feeling -- I *love* to run but I kept getting injured (hips and back especially) so I've had to give it up. Now I mostly swim and use cardio machines that are easy on the joints -- like ellipticals. Do you have those options?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 12:19 PM

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I was in your postion same thing about two years ago. I got really depressed and upset because I was extremely active up until I was injured first my back then my knees and in recovery for about 2 years. But I am back to normal now because I did a little everyday, STRECTH! it is some important, I went to a physical therapist too. But I made it a definate to eat healthy everyday and exercise what I could everyday. I slowly regained strength.
Now I am back feeling like myself and I realize now how medicinal exercise is and moving for that matter!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 2:04 PM

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Yes - inactivity is generally one of the worst things you can do for an injury. Not saying go exercise hard and that you don't need to rest and heal (you do), but you need to try to keep a full range of motion (within your pain threshold). A Physical therapist can help you keep flexibility, strengthen it without hurting it further and help you recover faster. I have serious back and neck problems and I would be a pain-ridden, inactive mess if it weren't for physical therapy. As it is most people have no idea that I have serious issues because I am so active and move well. I am stronger now than I was back when I was 'whole' and I know my limits and how to stay stong and exercise with aggravating anything. I also have a higher, firmer behind, toned thighs and a flater (almost completely flat) stomach - still working on that one. I truly don't think any of that would have happened without physical therapy.

As others have noted swimming is a terrific way to exercise without impacting your joints and is generally very 'balanced' in that it the resistance from the water helps work muscles that you generally don't use as much walking or running (it's a great cross-training activity). Walking or biking may not be out of the question for you (provided its gentle), but I would seek the adive of a physical or PT on those. Pilates and Yoga may offer you some serious benefits and help you stay flexible and toned - any instructor will be careful of your injuries if you take a moment to talk to them.

Hope your leg heals quickly and you are able to resume a full schedule! :-)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 3:17 PM

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Backs and knees respond really well to "alternative" therapies. Try acupuncture, chiropractic or medical massage -- those would be my first 3 choices. If money is an issue, acupuncture and massage can be had cheaply (like $20-30 instead of $60-100) at the supervised clinics where they do training for these things.

Yoga can actually be a little hard on the knees (well, only at the level where you're doing it 4 hours a day every day...but since you have an injury, I figured it was worth a mention), otherwise I'd suggest it.

Swim the side or back stroke to build up the muscles in your lower back to support the injured region - this has done wonders for my sciatica, at the recommendation of my chiropractor. Also, do core stability exercises to help you correct the problem and your posture.

Cycling (stationary or real) is a non-weightbearing activity - it might work for your situation.

Good luck -- I hope your summer improves!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 8:16 PM

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AcuPRESSURE and Mat Pilates

Acupressure is a good alternative WITHOUT needles.

Mat Pilates will strengthen your core so you will have less trouble with your back and will help you stay in shape.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 9:04 PM

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Thanks so much everyone...

I really appreciate all of your help. A lot of the suggestions listed I hadn't thought about before, so it's given me some things to think about.

My "Normal workout" is usually about 50 minutes to an hour on the elliptical machine. I'm a slave to the numbers, so I generally push until I've burned about 700-750 calories on the machine's little progress meter thingo. Not seeing that extra negative cherry pie flashing in front of my face every morning has been the hardest part I think...

I suppose anything is better than nothing :) I'll try to get myself moving and do what I can. Thanks again!

Thursday, July 20, 2006, 7:34 AM

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you could also just focus on your upper body with dumbbells for awhile. It won't hurt your knees and at least keeps you in the right mindset.

Thursday, July 20, 2006, 10:23 PM

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