I’m diabetic and overweight and need to exercise. My doctors all agree that I should walk every day . . . which is fine when I’m feeling good and the weather is nice.
A few weeks ago I was having increasing pain in my right Achilles tendon. My podiatrist has me using a removable cast, which I remove for showering and driving. During these times I must avoid flexing my ankle too much; if I do, the pain returns, along with the damage. Supposedly, I have to wear the cast for 6 weeks; I’m afraid it’ll be longer.
So assuming I’m wearing the cast when exercising . . . what kind of exercise can I do? I thought about swimming (without the cast), but that would involve too much movement of the ankle. I thought of stabilizing my ankle with an ace bandage, but it wouldn’t provide the rigid support that I get with the cast.
I tried to use my stationary bike with only one foot; didn’t work too well.
My blood glucose and my weight are already increasing, due to lack of exercise and overeating from boredom.
You could do calisthenic exercises in sets. There are lots of varieties of crunches, leg lifts, dips, and push-ups, many of which I think you could do without involving your ankle (or buying equipment). Those really get the heart rate up.
You could also buy a set of resistance bands and do whatever exercises the manual illustrates.
Do you have access to a gym at all, with a weight room?
Getting up, going to the gym, walking across a parking lot on crutches, getting set up, doing some ankle-free weight routines (hand weights, bench press, seated bench press, pull-down, thigh machine, ab machines, etc) at your own pace, and packing up and getting back home would be quite a thorough workout for an overweight older gentleman. And it’d also kill an hour or two so you are not bored and over-eating.
The part that requires some thought is getting up legs involved without undue ankle flexion … laying on your back and doing sets of flutter kicks, static leg lifts, legs to chest, will help that. If he have gym acsess this is where those machines can help as some will isolate some leg muscles without involving the ankle.
Check with the pool where you aren’t swimming to see if they have pool-based non-swimming fitness classes. These may be labeled for senior cits or arthritis patients, or as water aerobics or water tai chi, etc.
A big advantage is that the water supports your weight, lessening stress on the injured part. The instructor can usually suggest modifications for whatever limitations a participant has.
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To expand on this, many fitness centers have UBEs, which are arm bikes (or hand cycles). You actually sit in the them and control the resistance, time, etc. Excellent for cardiovascular exercise when unable to use the lower body.
Also, many gyms have cardio machines called “Nu-Steppers” which are combination row/pedal machines that are seated and can be used for upper-body only exercise. All you have to do is sit in the machine seat and not put your feet in the foot pedals, and just row with your upper body. Again, an excellent source of cardio for those unable to use their lower bodies (temporarily or permanently).
I thought of a rowing machine as well. Might you be able to place your bad ankle somewhere else and not put stress on it? It’s been so long since I used a rowing machine, I don’t know how feasible that would be.
If you have access to a gym, maybe use the weight equipment. It isn’t as good as far as aerobics of course, but toning muscles a bit certainly wouldn’t do any harm, and might build lean muscle mass which would help your overall burn rate (slightly at least).
The only place I’ve ever seen an arm cycle was at a physical therapy facility; I’ve never seen one at a regular gym. The one I went to, you could do hands, feet on regular bike-like pedals, or both (as the pedals aggravated my knees I just used the arm part).
Similarly, I used to own an exercise bike where the handlebars moved back and forth; you could (if desired) prop your feet on stationary footrests and just use the handlebars. I haven’t seen bikes like that at gyms either (it was a Schwinn AirDyne).
Swimming can still work. You can swim with just your arms and use a ‘pull buoy’ between your legs. The buoy keeps your legs afloat without you having to kick. You may want to get some sort of ankle splint to keep your ankle immobile in the water.