Four weeks after my accident I got back into the gym again for a spin class. Before breaking my elbow I had a 99 week unbroken run on FourSquare for gym attendance. I’m rarely ill, and if injured I modify what I do rather than miss a workout completely, to not be in the gym for this long has been strange.
I missed the gym for more than just the workouts. There is a small group of us who tend to go to the same classes, early morning people. I don’t see these people out of the gym, however two or three times a week we’re in a class together so know something of each others lives – especially where fitness is concerned. After my accident the Tuesday morning Body Pump class sent me a card. This feels like my tribe, people who understand what motivates me.
People involved in fitness have a totally different reaction to my injury. Other people ask me if it hurts a lot, whether I can work, how I am coping at home. Fitness people say, “you must be going crazy not being able to run”, make suggestions of stuff I might be able to do and want to know how long the rehab is likely to be. They know how impossible it is for one of us to spend time sat on the sofa. Most importantly they treat me the same as before. It was important to be back in the gym amongst people who would treat me as somewhat inconvenienced rather than an invalid!
In practical terms the spin bike is manageable one handed with my injured arm in just a simple foam loop sling. By putting my handlebars up two settings higher than normal I can keep my shoulders straight when leaning forward on one hand. I spend the class alternating between sitting up straight, not holding on at all and being in that forward position. Pushing the speed feels too wobbly so I choose higher gears and a slower cadence than normal. I wear clipless cycling shoes for spin so feel pretty stable clipped onto the pedals. A couple of weeks in and I am quite confident to stand up on the bike in high gears. I have a lot of core strength and good balance anyway, which helps.
Going by my heart rate and effort level I have not lost a great deal of fitness in the time off and it is great to have at least one cardio activity I can do. We have now hired a spin bike for home from Rowhire so I can get on the bike without needing to book into a class.
Today I started physiotherapy, it’s a milestone, a move from just waiting to actually doing something to improve things. I only have a tiny range of motion at the moment, and my whole arm is very stiff, so I’m working to loosen up my shoulder as well as try and improve the range of motion in my elbow.