Sunday, 9 September 2012

How to Exercise (when you’re always injured)

I wanted to exercise last night but it just didn't work out.”

I’m one of the most accident-prone people there is. If there is a wall, a door, a drawer or a slight undulation on a flat surface – I will find it. I lose track of the number of bruises that show up all over my legs, sides and arms some days.

Paris with a broken ankle

Walking through a glass door
I’ve had a hundred stitches on both my legs because I walked into a glass door and it fell on me. I’ve been pushed through Charles de Gaulle airport in a wheelchair because I broke my ankle walking off a pavement in Paris. I’ve broken and bruised many small bones on the tops of my feet dancing on cow dung covered surfaces in Goa. I've strained muscles and ligaments running on Marine Drive. That's just my legs – if I had to describe every injury I’ve had, we’d be here all week.
Getting injured is both a blessing and a curse. I get loads of attention while I'm convalescing, and also eat any food that I want and to hell with quantity. This is a great strategy if I’m only in bed for a few days, but not so good for my waistline if I’m there for the semi – long haul. I always have my dad hovering over me saying ‘Jhadoo don’t eat that!’; (jhadoo meaning fatty, not broom). The key thing I try and try to remember (and sometimes do) is that being injured is a lot like being on holiday or having a weekend. Its very real and everything you eat COUNTS!

“Oh its Saturday, it won’t matter if I eat fries and a chocolate milkshake for breakfast. Okay brunch. Okay just a snack.” Etc etc… it doesn't work like that. Your body is still counting those calories and still storing them where you definitely don’t want them to be seen. To quote a friends episode I love 'A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!'

Exercising while you’re stuck at home can be completely frustrating and definitely deemed pointless. I for one barely understand why it is productive for me to get up, and jump up and down at the foot of my bed. (It’s the only thing that works for me though!)  Sometimes however, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’ve started spending a lot of time on pinterest courtesy another blogger I know and invariably end up going through pages and pages of fitness pictures. Mine are here. 

Fitness pictures, by the way, are always shots of spectacular looking women with amazing butts and legs, ‘lightly sweating’ as they pose for the picture- “Oh the weights are so heavy I must pout and make a sexy face to ease the pressure”

Love her
While I can make fun of them forever, there is a little part of me that whimpers if I look at them too long (and a little part of me that used to put pictures of Alyssa Milano up for inspiration). Just got to get myself up and keep going. 

If you’re lying in bed and can’t move, squeeze your knee down into the mattress. Don't use your thigh to push your leg down, but concentrate on making your knee as flat as you can using your quad muscles. Hold and count to 3. Do 2 sets of 30 on each leg.

Using the same technique of squeezing (and being in bed – ahem!) squeeze your glutes together tightly. Hold till 5 and release. Do 2 sets of 20.

Keeping your stomach sucked in all the time is actually a really good core exercise. We ladies do it constantly when we’re out and dressed in small little dresses and skirts, but never think of doing it when we’re home. Try consciously keeping your stomach pulled in all the time (and your back straight) and there will come a time in the next few months where you wont be pulling that much in! This is a lot tougher than it looks, I've been trying to do this all week and I keep slipping back into a slouch after a few minutes. 

Gentle stretching is always amazing for your body. When you wake up, get out of bed and stretch. It's really good for you in the long run. Stand at the side of your bed and stretch - stretch - stretch upward. Imagine that there are ropes attached to your hands and feet and they are pulling you in different directions. Stretch as high as you can go and hold for 9 breaths. Release and do it again. 
Next as I always recommend, if you can do it – surya namaskar! If you don't know how to do a surya namaskar (shame on you!) you can learn here or here or here

The latest one - something is pulling inside my kneecap
For me, the permanent cripple I now have a range of physiotherapy exercises that I have to do each morning so I’m kick starting my day every day. Yes, kickboxing too. My therapist wants me to keep at it while we fix my knee. Something went wrong with my knee again btw. Presents and sympathy please!

To be very honest (because you know, I wasn't before) there is very little you can do if you’re landed flat on your back. Just be careful with what you eat and try not to fill into those big t shirts and shorts that you wear to sleep.

Remember – its mind over platter and not the other way around!