Exercising

The left leg is good. It works well, takes my weight, bends properly, walks and pedals, and generally gives me no grief. Fit and forget, you might say. I’ve nothing against my left leg.

Remember classic Pete and Dud? “The problem is, neither have you.”

No, they haven’t chopped off the right leg or done anything involving scalpels. It just doesn’t work properly. It creaks and groans when I stand on it, and if I then bend the right knee, it turns to jelly. Not that I particularly want to stand on one leg with the knee bent, but I would like to walk with less pain and fewer rests. The limb gets tired and grouchy when I cycle. Apparently it suffers from a non-fatal case of weak muscles, and they need strengthening up pretty sharpish or I’ll never get to Skipton. Walking and cycling is good exercise but not good enough. In both locomotions, I tend to favour that leg so it doesn’t get exercised properly. The strong leg gets stronger while the weaker gets weaker.

So I’ve started proper some exercises. Not the easy ones that simply keep the muscles moving, but harder ones to build their strength. For now, just two sorts. First, resistance training in the four directions (front, back, left, right), holding each position for ten seconds. Repeat ad infinitum. Second, weight-bearing to persuade that leg to take on its fair share of the load: stand on the bad leg for ten seconds. Bend the knee very slightly and hold for ten seconds. Repeat for another infinitum. While doing this, I keep at least one hand on something solid.

My boredom threshold is painfully finite, but Brown Bike is bored with carrying crutches and doesn’t want to cart around a walking-stick. So I’ll do the exercises, if only to keep him happy.

My aim is to be able to walk or cycle all day. Will I achieve this by July? I don’t know. My fitness has decreased since December, when I did 65km in one day. I need to reverse this decline.

Brown Bike is still getting some exercise, but slowly. The physio reckons I may be spraining muscles, and I should build their strength through the boring exercises first. If I’m knackered cycling, I could knacker my leg. So we did a loop yesterday morning at a leisurely 17 kph. Very much easier than our usual 21 kph, and the naff leg would happily do it again. And there was a bit of sun, which made a nice change, though it was still cold. (In Cambridgeshire, spring arrived and hurried away again a few weeks ago.) As I didn’t feel at all tired, I repeated the loop in the afternoon. The sky grayed over and the drizzle started, so that was enough for one day. Aside from the evening exercises, of course.

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