Aerobic exercise alternatives to running

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

Aerobic exercise alternatives to running

Postby randolph » Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:01 am

Hello forum friends!

I'm looking for an aerobic exercise I can do most days to replace all that running I used to do an hour or two most days until sciatica sidelined me last year. I really miss the endorphins! And I've gained 10 lbs over the year (watching my food intake ... but apparently not well enough).

I've tried several things ... that haven't worked.

Swimming is out - too much twisting on the lower back with all that leg kicking, no matter which stroke I do.

Bike riding is out - all that bouncing is hard on the lower back, and getting off is rather tricky. Stationary exercise bikes are safer ... but there's still enough bouncing to stress the lower back too much.

Speed walking is out - still can't walk at more than a leisurely pace (which my wife appreciates after all those years of her toddling behind me :lol: )

This season's leaf raking was a pleasant enough activity for a few hours most weekends this fall ... but they're all raked up for this year. And sex is nice, but it doesn't happen often enough or last long enough (typical married man with kids ... no Hugh Hefner here)

Anybody found anything you can do to generate a nice sweat and elevate the heart rate for 30-60 minutes a day?

Thanks, Randolph
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Postby Steven » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:35 am

Hi Randolph,

You might try an elliptical trainer or a Nordic track cross-country ski machine. The elliptical trainer is like running but without the joint jarring that goes along with jogging on a hard surface. The ski machine is just like cross-country skiing.

Both may still aggravate your back, so you'd just have to try them out first before buying one.

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Postby krd » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:04 pm

Hey Randolf

I know that you and I have talked, but I wanted to put this on the forum. You know about the pain that I was in this year. I couldn't even walk, let alone run or do any thing aerobic. It wasn't until I got the epidural injections that my life turned around.

Since my final epidural, I have undergone PT 3 times a week for approximately 6 weeks down to 2 times a week for 3 weeks. I am now done with my PT and I can tell you that I am a new man. I now do back core strengthening exercises everyday (without pain), and I am using resistance bands 3 to 4 days a week, integrating them with my back exercises (also without any pain). I am not bragging, I am just telling the truth.

I too was reluctant to get the epidurals, but I was tired of "being on the sideline" not participating. The epidurals ease the pain and allow the nerve to heal so that you can aggressively seek PT and strengthen the core. Now I can ride a bike, walk again, and the resistance bands are totally awesome. Google Bodylastics to see them if you would like. I would not try them unless you talk with your PT first. My PT would look at the manual and tell me which ones were OK for me to do during my rehab. I am now able to do all of the exercises in the program.

If you have any questions about the epidurals, email me, call me, whatever..... I know that it worked wonders for me. I know that you are an exercises nut and this must be killing you to not be able to do something about it. Epidurals are not for everyone, but they were the answer for me. Good luck!!!!!!!

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Postby randolph » Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:40 am

Thanks, Steven, I'll check out those machines next time I'm at the Y. I'd previously rejected even trying them out because I thought they were "lady machines" :oops: ... but now I'll give them a reasonable try!

And thank you, Ken. I definitely have the possibility of trying the epidural on my A list ... but not to do unless I get in the same position that motivated you to try them: too much constant pain and unacceptable loss of function. I continue to improve more and more each week with just doing the exercises most days for 30-45 minutes ... so I'm really happy with my progress without the epidurals. But I'm really glad to have this to fall back on in case of need. And I'll check out the bodylastics; sounds interesting.

Turns out ... I'm going to be getting all the exercise (aerobic and otherwise) I can handle in a week. My present employer will have my services for just one more week: a big corporation bought up the small company I am driving for and essentially told us drivers - it's our corporate way or the highway ... so I chose the highway ... literally ... on Nov 28 we (wife/kids/me) will jump in a friend's RV and play tourist for a week ooh-ing and aah-ing sights at the Wash DC Mall and colonial Williamsburg. It will be interesting to see how much walking and stair climbing (can you still climb up the Washington Memorial?) I can do; I'll be taking along a wheelchair just in case it gets to be too much ... and of coarse, frequently taking breaks and doing a cobra or two.

So in two weeks, will be home each day until I jump into somebody else's truck in Jan '07 ... and will be able to check on y'all everyday for a month. Really looking forward to that. C ya.

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Arm bikes

Postby mike1 » Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:36 pm

As a suggestion to a guy I know who had broken his foot a trainer suggested these alternatives - perhaps one might offer something to you.
a. There are these Arm based bicycles at most gyms - I go to lifetime fitness one of the more upclass gyms in our area and they have one - I tried it and it was pretty fun, You just have to change directions every once in awile to avoid mucle imbalances.
b. seated on a swiss ball you can try shadowboxing or body blade workouts and since the suggestions was made above to try the resitance bands perhaps incorporating the two might be an option.
c. and perhaps even hitting a punching bag is an opition its less impact on your lower body than running and in a twenty minute interval workout (1 minute at peak intensity - one minute rest - one minute peak intensity -and so on) you can beef up your cardio levels really fast. plus its a stress reliever
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Postby randolph » Thu Nov 23, 2006 12:08 am

Great ideas, Mike. Thanks very much!! Randolph
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