In case you hadn’t heard, I broke my arm! These past 5 1/2 weeks post surgery have certainly had their ups and downs. I had never broken anything before – not even a strain – so when I broke my arm, I naively thought that once I was out of surgery, I would be good to go back to normal. However, if you have had any operation or any sort of break before, you are probably laughing right now knowing that that is not the case! Not even close!
Petting your fur baby can count as exercise too 😉
I will be sharing more about my injury and recovery soon, but in the meantime, as I have been starting to feel better both mentally and physically, I wanted to do what I could for exercises so as to not lose all of my strength and endurance. Both cardio and weight training are important, but when you are injured, getting your heart rate up can be difficult (although trying to put your hair up with a broken arm certainly builds a sweat)! So below I am sharing some exercises that I have been doing, in addition to some others that you can try at home to help increase your heart rate and get in cardio/endurance training without going for a run or jumping all over the place!
For any of the exercises below, listen to your body! You can choose one, two, or any combo of the exercises below to get your heart rate going. For reps and timing, I will give suggestions, but start off simple and see how you feel. Remember, if you are injured, it is helpful to move, but also very important to be patient and let your body heal (← I have to remind myself of this every day)! Everyone’s injuries are different, so incorporate what you can, and as always, ask your doctor or physical therapist so you know what you are able to do while you recover.
1. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are great for getting your heart rate up! I have been using one hand and a lighter weight. To get my heart rate up, I suggest doing at least three sets of 30 swings each. You can rest in between or perform another exercise below before coming back to swings.
2. Skater “Hops”
Depending on your injury, hopping might not be an option. However, if you are further along in recover, this can be a great way to start adding in the hopping movement. Whether you hop side to side or step, this move is a must! The first couple of weeks of my own recovery I could not bounce, so I stepped side to side as fast as I could, and performed three rounds of 10 reps per side. Now I have added the hop back in and am performing 20 reps per side.
3. Walking Up and Down Stairs
This is a great and more simple one (unless of course you have a lower body injury). Simply walking up and down the stairs – even just for 10 minutes – can help give you a little cardio burst. I started off slow, and only did 5-10 minutes at a time, because even the weight of my arm was painful. However, now that it is not, I go for about 20 minutes.
4. Lateral Lunge with Knee Drive
This is also a great core workout! Again, start simple and see how you feel. I personally started with 20 reps total, and now do 15 reps per side in conjunction with other exercises.
5. Squat and Shoulder Press Combo
Exercises that get your arms over your head are sure to get your heart rate up. The best part is that you do not even have to hold a weight if you have an upper body injury. I just hold a light weight in my left hand, but as I have been progressing in physical therapy, I have started to hold a can of beans or water bottle in my right hand. The first couple of weeks I only did three sets of 10 reps in conjunction with these other exercises, but now I do 3-4 sets of 15 repetitions.
Holding your hands (or weights) by your shoulders, simply perform a normal squat. When you rise up, perform a shoulder press, raising your arms overhead.
6. Squat and Punch
This was a favorite of mine even more I was injured! Depending on your injury, you could hold light weights in your hands as you punch, but I of course have not done that. I like to do about 20 reps for three rounds.
Bonus tip: Higher Reps!
No matter what you are doing, if you cannot use weight or are limited in movements that you can perform, do what you can at a higher repetition. Even if it simply performing a bicep curl, when you use a lighter weight but can perform slightly faster and higher reps of an exercise, your heart rate will start to increase.