Two weeks after I broke my arm (fractured the humerus – that’s the long bone in the upper arm connected to the scapula – in three places), I have finally accepted that I will not be running any time soon At my last appointment, I was told it would take at least six weeks. That’s 42 days until I can experience that exhilarating feeling of the wind brushing against my face, my heart pumping and my legs moving hard and fast along the roads.
It would be an understatement to say that I am missing my daily adrenaline rush. Running and exercise is such a huge part of who I am. It’s where I channel my nervous energy and find inspiration. It’s the place I escape to, where I can organise my thoughts and come back feeling re-energised and re-invigorated. And I have made so many friends along the way. A part of me is currently languishing in a dormant state, waiting for the green light to say go, go, go; get back to it. Let’s just say it’s tricky at the moment and begs the question of how to find the right coping mechanism.
Well, I could drown my sorrows in endless tubs of ice cream, which would be fun for the short-term. At least I’d perfect my knowledge of the different tasting notes and get to experience all the tasty ice cream out there. I’ve heard really good things about Haagan Daaz Belgium chocolate ice cream. I could even use that smoothie maker to blend the Belgium chocolate with a scoop of strawberry and a dash of Ben & Jerry’s Baked Alaska to make a mega monster. Yum.
Or I may take a different approach to the situation altogether. After all, six weeks is the same time as what used to be my school summer holidays. I may not be able to perform sit-ups for the next few weeks and the dangly arm in a cuff and neck brace is not exactly en vogue but let’s make the best of a bad situation. Let’s try to find alternative ways to keep active with a broken arm.
As much as I would love to become the ice cream equivalent of a sommelier, staying active will make me undeniably happier. So here are 3 ways I’ve discovered to stay active with a severely broken arm:
1. Walk on a daily basis
When my arm wasn’t broken, I loved my morning commute to work. Either running or cycling past Hampstead Heath, down through Hampstead Village, past all the beautiful houses, around Regent’s Park, even on rainy days, London felt glorious.
Fast forward to now and I’m having to bus part of my journey into work after a rather long walk commute to Golders Green station.
It may not be as fast and take me twice as long as a cycle but by walking for 35-40 minutes through Hampstead Garden Suburbs (see picture) including the Heath Extension in the morning and evening, at least I’m exercising. And some days I even walk with my poor long-suffering partner.
Of course, I’d rather be running or cycling to work but this does offer up a happy medium, ensuring my legs are being stretched and I can avoid tube during peak hours, which would be a horrendous idea with my arm in a sling. And maybe, when I can run and cycle again, I may change my routine to include one day walking to the bus with the hubbie-to-be.
2. Meet me at the barre
Or in my case, sign up to ballet classes online and find the exercise that I can do one-armed, using a chair instead of a barre at home. So I’ve subscribed to Barrecore’s online classes and have started trying to do them amongst all the chaos that our kitchen renovation has created (we are currently sans cuisine and all the paraphernalia from the kitchen is scattered around our flat).
Most of the toning and strengthening exercises involve some kind of squatting and repetitive leg lifts until I shake and can feel my body working. And yes, I’d love to do some of the core stuff but the nature of my break makes it virtually impossible to do anything (and I mean ANYTHING) horizontal.
The lovely Coach Chambers has also sent me through some exercises that do not involve the top part of my body and activate those lower limbs and engage my core.
Again, I’m not exactly thrilled by this situation but at least it partially fills the gaping hole left by my running and classes that would attend weekly if not daily.
3. The home cycle
It can be hard for some people to understand but I have always been active. Even as a teenager in what I refer to as my “inactive years”, I was pretty fit. You see I was a papergirl who come rain or shine would be up with the larks to deliver papers in my local area on my bike. I also danced two to three times a week sometimes more. What I’m trying to say is that I find it quite difficult to sit still without doing something. And if I can’t cycle outdoors (also a no-no according to my friendly Greek doctor), I’m going to have to bring it inside. Yep, I’m going to buy a workout bike (something I’d never thought I’d write).
I’d love to go to spinning classes but when you’ve injured your arm, there are so many extra things you have to think about.
Firstly, there’s the logistics. How do you get to a class without running the risk of being bashed on the arm on the tube during those peak hours? Then there’s the problem of changing into your sports gear. At the moment, I’m struggling to put on my socks and can only wear really wide-neck t-shirts or button-up blouses. And as for a sports bra, well, just try putting it on one-handed. Annoying as it is, working out at home feels like the only option for the time being.
This is only the beginning of a long struggle back to fitness. I’m now entering my third week of being one-armed and frustratingly unable to do things that I would take for granted.
If after reading this, you have any suggestions for exercises I could incorporate into my fitness, please let me know.