Maintaining Stamina While Injured

by Jessica B. | November 24th, 2011 | Cardio

My exercise choice is running. It hasn’t always been, but after making some significant lifestyle changes, running has become an important part of my life. So it was pretty devastating this summer when I broke my foot. Not only was running out of the question, I couldn’t use the elliptical, and biking wouldn’t work.

My doctor recommended hitting the pool. Thanks to an easily removable boot cast, this wasn’t completely out of the question. The only problem? I have never been a strong swimmer, and I wasn’t sure I could get a good workout just doing slow laps back and forth doing the breaststroke.

Here’s what I learned from the experience:

*Take it easy! You are injured, so give your body time to heal.

*It will take time to build up the strength to be able to swim well, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting a good cardio workout.

*You don’t need to be out of breath to get a good workout. Just like when you are out for a jog, you should be able to hold a conversation, or in this case, breathe without drinking down the pool.

*Try other strokes. I hated doing the crawl, but now I find it very relaxing.

*If you can’t get very far, take some time to just tread water.

*It will get better – you felt this way about running once, too.

These days I am, thankfully, back on my feet. After four weeks of swimming, I mixed in a short elliptical session, and transitioned over to more elliptical work before picking up running again.

Despite my hesitation and lack of speed, swimming helped me to maintain my stamina. I picked up my workouts on the elliptical almost exactly where I left off, and eventually hit the pavement without seeing too much change in my physical abilities.

Not only was I able to maintain good speed and challenging workouts, I also built a great deal of upper body strength.

These days I still keep up my swimming habit, but only about once every two weeks, rather than the three-four days a week I was doing it when my injury was new. If you are an injured runner worrying about losing your stamina because you are sidelined due to injury, don’t be afraid to hit the pool.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.