Tag Archives: Yoga

16 Weeks Post Op

16 Weeks Post Op

16 Weeks Post Op. It’s pretty crazy to look back at the past 4 months of my recovery from ACL reconstructive surgery and see just how far i’ve come. I feel like I say this in every road to recovery post but it’s true. At 16 weeks post op I am allowed to start jumping and I am finishing up my Return to Run program. I am officially running for 30+ minutes straight and ran my first 5k on the treadmill last weekend. As for my fitness routine, I continuing to go to spin classes, yoga classes and do general strength training at PT and at the gym. I do feel general fatigue after standing or walking around for too long, but other than that I am not too limited in life.

Physical Therapy:

  • Agility ladder- Forward, back, side to side, diagonal, etc
  • Hops over line- Forward and back, Side to Side
  • Single Leg Squats to 14″ Box- 30 reps both legs
  • Goblet Squats- 30 Reps
  • Foam Roll vs Wall- 3 reps of 45 second holds, Both legs
  • Wall Sits- 3 reps of 45 second holds
  • Mountain Climbers- 3 reps of 45 seconds
  • Side Lunges- 30 Reps
  • Plank Holds- 3 reps of 30 second holds
  • Balancing Exercises on AirX pad
  • Curtsy Squats- 30 Reps, Both Legs

My last doctor appointment was this past week and he is very happy with my progress and recovery. I am prescribed for another 6 weeks of PT but that will hopefully be my last appointment with my doctor. In another 2 months I will be cleared to get back to everything I want to get back to. I need to continue to strengthen my quad and build muscle to diminish the 3cm circumference difference between both legs. The atrophy of the surgical leg is still a concept i’m getting used to.. 4 months later.

I hope that my recovery will continue to progress and in another 6 weeks I will be off on my own from PT. This journey has tested me in various ways and has helped to teach me to slow down and listen to my body. Overdoing it with exercise was a consistent habit of mine pre-injury so i’ve worked hard to adjust my habits and not over do it.

Namaste friends.


Week 12 Post Op

Week 12 Post Op

Friends. We’ve made it. Week 12 Post Op. It’s pretty incredible to look back on the past 12 weeks and see how much progress I have made in only 3 months. I’ve gone from not being able to walk without a crutch or brace to being able to take SoulCycle to getting back on the treadmill. The human body is pretty cool. The past 3-4 weeks have been a “danger zone” for my new ACL and i’ve had to remain cautious during this time as my new ACL was very weak during this time period. My physical therapist explained that my new ACL was transforming from the Patellar Tendon that it was into a ligament. PT has been a great workout the past week and it leaves me pretty tired after the hour long session. I will still be in PT 2x per week until the end of July and then I will be going down to 1x per week.

Physical Therapy:

  • Elliptical- 5 minutes to warm up
  • Single Leg Squats- 30 each leg
  • Double Leg Squats on the Bosu- 30 reps
  • Inchworms- 3 laps
  • High to Low Boats- 30 reps
  • Walking Lunges- 3 laps
  • Lateral Lunges- 30 reps each leg
  • Mountain Climbers- 3 reps of 45 seconds
  • Foam Roll vs The wall- 3 reps of 45 second holds, Both Legs
  • Step Ups- 18″, 30 reps each leg
  • Curtsey Lunges- Using TRX for support, 30 reps each leg
  • Exercise Ball Plank to Hip Hike Up- 30 Reps
  • Single Leg balance with Weight- 30 reps
  • Goblet Squat- 15 pounds, 30 reps
  • RETURN TO RUN PROGRAM!

Outside of PT I am staying very active by going to yoga classes at Core Power Yoga. I was only taking HPF (Hot Power Fusion) which is a set sequence class and once I felt strong enough I graduated to my favorite class C2 which is the level 2 vinyasa flow class. I take about 3 yoga classes per week. I also fit in a few spin classes at studios around Chicago. I usually take 1 Soul Cycle class per week, 1 FlyWheel class on the weekend (which leaves me BEYOND sweaty as you can see in photo below) and then another class at the gym or the new studio in the West Loop, CycleX.

I’ve added swimming into my regular workout regimen and I’ve found that swimming is a good way to spend 30 minutes exercising that won’t leave me completely exhausted. I start triathlon training in a few weeks but for now I am focusing on my Return to Run Program. This program has 3 workouts per week and builds the amount of running time on the treadmill form 30 seconds and adds 30 seconds to each run rep every exercise day. I started yesterday with 5 reps of 30 second runs and then walking for 4.5 minutes in between. It tests my patience but that seems the be the theme of ACL Recovery all together.

In 4 weeks I am going back the doctor for another check up. I also can start jumping at 16 weeks post op. This road to recovery is long but only gets better every week. I’m beyond grateful that I have made it to 12 weeks post op and can focus on the next stage of my recovery.

Namaste.


10 Weeks Post Op

10 Weeks Post Op

Friends. We’ve made it to 10 weeks post op. 10 weeks ago I started my recovery from ACL Reconstruction Surgery. Week 10 was a milestone week for me personally because it meant that I could use clipless pedals again and go back to SoulCycle and FlyWheel classes. I was fairly nervous to try to clip in and moreso to clip out of the pedals. Friday morning I went to the Loop for a 7AM SoulCycle class and I successfully completed the class and clipped in and out with ease. My legs were tired by the end of class but I expected to be much more exhausted than I was. I kept up with the class and had zero issues. It was the first time since my surgery that I felt like a normal person again, and not like someone who was fighting back to recover and heal. Aside from spin classes, gym workouts (elliptical and stationary bike for cardio. lifting, abs etc for the rest), and PT, I have been staying active by going to yoga classes. I find that I cannot do the entire class (kneeling doesn’t feel right) but I am able to get into standing bow and stretch out my quad, and also grab for my feet in floor bow which are two poses I was worried about. Every week bring a new challenge in PT but as I said earlier- I am starting to feel like a normal person again. That is an amazing feeling.

Physical Therapy:

  • Wall Sits: 30 second holds, 3 sets
  • Split Lunges with back foot elevated on block: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Walking Lunges: 3 Laps down and back
  • Single Leg sit to stand: Standing on Airex pad, 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Elevated Side Step down: 30 reps
  • Plank holds with leg lifts: 30 reps
  • Lateral Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps, Both sides
  • Single Leg Deadlift: 30 reps, Both Legs
  • Step ups: 16″, 30 reps both legs
  • 5 Minute Elliptical warm up
  • Plank on Workout ball- Pike Ups, I have no idea what these are called. 30 reps
  • Squats: squat down to 18″ block, 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Lunge with twist: Twist ball over front leg while lunging, 3 laps

Physical therapy has been preparing my to be able to start running again at week 12. Currently my flexion is at 145 degrees and my extension is at 0 degrees. Both are great and the work i’ve been doing every morning and night doing heel slides on the ground have been working. It’s amazing how my knee feels now in comparison to a few weeks ago. All of the work is tough but it’s clearly paying off.

Namaste.


9 Weeks Post Op

9 Weeks Post Op

Well it’s been 9 weeks post op from ACL Reconstruction Surgery. This week I have been focused on getting better flexion (bending) in my knee. My measurement as of last week was 130 degrees and my physical therapist challenged me to a flexion of 140-143 degrees by the start of Week 9. I successfully made it to 140 degrees. I’ve started back at Core Power Yoga doing Hot Power Fusion classes. Between PT twice per week, Yoga, and spin classes… I am beyond busy getting my knee back to pre-op strength.

Physical Therapy:

  • Heel slides on table with stretching strap- 30 reps
  • Hamstring Stretches- All directions, 30 seconds each direction
  • Inchworms- Walk hands out to plank then walk feet behind hands- 3 laps up and back
  • Single Leg Sit to Stand- Both legs, 30 reps
  • Balancing Knee to Opposite Elbow- 30 reps while standing on Airex pad
  • Squats to 16″ Block- 30 Reps
  • TKE- Total Knee Extensions with resistance band- 30 reps
  • Step Ups to 14″- 30 reps each leg
  • Side Step Downs- 30 reps
  • Front Step Downs- 30 reps
  • Wall Sits- 3 reps of 30 second holds
  • Walking Lunges- 3 laps up and back
  • Stationary Lunges- 30 reps, each leg

PT hasn’t changed too much this week, but we did add lunges and frontal step downs. These exercises are prepping my knee to be able to run in 3 weeks!! I’m getting pretty antsy to go out for a run because the weather has been so nice lately. Next week I am cleared to use clipless pedals and shoes which means I can officially go back to SoulCycle and FlyWheel classes! I am also entering the time period where my new ACL is transforming from a tendon to a ligament, so I have to be extra careful.

I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Chris and I will be celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary on Sunday! This past year of marriage has flow by even with the hiccup of my ACL tear in February.

Namaste.


8 Weeks Post Op

8 Weeks Post Op

It’s officially been 8 weeks post op. 2 months. That’s insane. The past two months have been some of the most difficult moments of my life thus far (first world problems. I know). I’ve spent days in bed icing my knee, learned how to walk again, regained much needed strength in my hamstring, calf and quad and improved my confidence in my operative leg. 4 Weeks ago I was able to stop wearing my brace full time and now I am looking ahead to 4 weeks from today and being able to start running again. This past week I spent a lot of time at the gym doing PT exercises, upper body strengthening and core work, took 2 spin classes (cage pedals only), and took my first yoga class post op. I am limited in my yoga capabilities but it felt amazing to spend 90 minutes going through the Bikram sequence. My Core Power membership is currently on hold until next week but I cannot wait to get back to CPY and take some HPF classes and gradually add in C1 classes to build up to C2’s.

My PT schedule was taken down to 2x per week instead of 3x which means I am making progress. My extension is perfect and I can bend my knee to 127 degrees which is something my PT and I are working on improving. To improve my flexion, my PT gave me the exercise of heel slides on the floor with a stretching strap around my heel. I lay on my back and bend my knee, then pull my knee towards my glute to bend my knee, then once I reach my max flexion I hold for 5 seconds. I am assigned to do this exercise 2x per day for 15 reps each time. I already feel my knee loosening and allowing more flexion just from this exercise.

Physical Therapy:

  • Hamstring stretching: 30 seconds, all directions, both legs
  • Calf stretching: 30 seconds, 3 reps
  • Hamstring curls on exercise ball: 30 reps
  • Lateral Step downs: 30 reps
  • RDLs (Roman Dead Lifts): 30 reps, 7.5 lbs
  • Single Leg Sit to Stand: 30 reps, both legs
  • Step Ups: 14″, 30 reps, both legs
  • Heel Slides (as described above), 30 reps
  • Planks: 3 reps of 30 second holds
  • High to Low Boats: 30 reps
  • Forward Reaches on One Leg: 30 reps, both legs
  • Elliptical: 5 Minute warm up on days I have PT, 30 minutes on days I do not
  • Spin Class/Stationary Bike: 45 minutes on days I don’t have PT

A lot of my PT involves utilizing my core for stability, so I have always added in core strengthening to my workouts as soon as I could after surgery. The next few weeks I will be adding in more and more exercises to my PT program in hopes of strengthening my leg for week 12 (running). I am officially cleared to go down stairs again but I am required to always use the handrail just in case I misstep or get clumsy…

It’s weird to look back at my progress and remember how desperately I wanted to be able to bend my knee just to make a full rotation on the stationary bike or how I would avoid drinking water during the night because I didn’t want to have to get out of bed and attempt to walk to the bathroom the week after surgery. In 10 months I hope to look back at this and feel gratitude for all that my body is capable, but also that my mentality was positive and confident during this process. Most people would say I’m crazy for wanting to ski again after tearing my ACL skiing in February, but skiing is something I am passionate about and have been since I was 4 years old. I may not be the daredevil I once was, but I hope that this process will strengthen and condition me to get back to the slopes again.

Namaste.

 


7 Weeks Post Op

7 Weeks Post Op

Here I am. ACL Reconstruction 7 weeks later. It’s hard to believe that next week will be 2 months post op. There are days where it feels like my surgery was forever ago and other days that feel like I was just in the operating room. My knee is feeling pretty good these days. I am going down to PT 2x per week starting next week because I am looking stronger each day. My balance is improving and I am capable of doing more things. I still cannot run, jump or use the stairmaster but HEY, who likes the stairmaster anyways?

I do miss running though. I am only 5 weeks away from starting to run again. These next few weeks are busy for me, so hopefully time just flies by and i’ll be at 12 weeks post op in no time.

Physical Therapy:

  • Hamstring curls on the workout ball, 30 reps
  • Wall Sits, 3 reps of 30 second holds
  • Single Leg Sit to Stand, 30 reps each leg
  • Weighted Roman Dead Lift (RDLs): 30 reps each leg
  • Squats: Wall squats, squats on the flat side of a bosu, squats to a chair: 30 reps
  • Side Steps: 3 laps down and back
  • Leg Extensions: 30 reps
  • Elliptical: 5 minutes to warm up for PT, 30 minutes at the gym
  • Stationary Bike: 45 minutes on days with no PT
  • Balancing Exercises: Single Leg balance on bosu:3 reps of 30 second holds, each leg
  • TKEs with resistance band, balancing on one leg: 30 reps
  • Step Ups: 14″ block, 30 reps each side
  • Single Leg Bridges: 30 reps, each leg
  • Downdog– LOTS of DD

PT hasn’t changed much aside from taking away balance aids, adding weight or minor increases to intensity. My leg is feeling stronger, and my muscles are slowly returning. You can still tell that my right leg is smaller and weaker but it has come a long way the past 7 weeks. I even was able to take a spin class at my gym last weekend. I was sore after but I kept up and was proud of my progress. I see my doctor tomorrow morning and I am looking forward to seeing what he thinks of my progress and what I will be cleared to start doing again. I am hopefully going to take a PAWs benefit spin class at Studio Three this Saturday afternoon, so I really hope he clears me to use clip in shoes (which are required by this studio).

As I have said several times throughout this series of recovery posts, this injury has helped me to listen to my body and slow down in general. I still love to plan and have things to do, but I can also take an afternoon for myself and just chill.

Namaste.


6 Weeks Post Op

6 Weeks Post Op

It has officially been 6 weeks post op from ACL surgery. If you’re just tuning in now then check out my road to recovery the past few weeks, start with week 1. Week 6 has brought about less tightness in my knee (except in the mornings), less painful scar tissue, increased PT exercises and a halfway point to running (week 12). I am staying active in PT 3 times per week and going to the gym on days I don’t have PT. This upcoming weekend I am attempting my first spin class with restrictions of no clip in shoes, no standing and no giving 100%. I’m fine with all of these as long as I can start getting back to my normal level of fitness. Post PT and after harder workouts I am still needing to ice and take ibuprofen occasionally when the pain or discomfort gets to be a bit too much. My brace is no longer used very often- except when I am in extremely crowded situations, but when I am running errands, out to dinner or just walking around the city, I do not need it. Next week I have a check up with my doctor, and I am interested to hear what he has to say about my progress. 

Physical Therapy:

  • 5 Minute Elliptical Warm Up
  • Hamstring Sets: Single leg, 30 reps on the exercise ball
  • Hamstring Curls: Both legs, 30 reps on the exercise ball
  • Side Steps: Using Resistance Band, 3 Laps- up and back
  • Hamstring Curls: Using the Cable Tower Machine, 5 lbs
  • Single Leg Standing Cross Balance: Reach for targets across my body, 30 reps each leg
  • Single Leg Balance: On soft side of Bosu, 30 Second holds, 3 Reps
  • Inch worms: Walkout to plank then step legs to meet hands, 2 Laps- up and back
  • High to Low Boats: 30 reps (yay yoga)
  • Squats: 30 reps always, Variations: Squat to seat, Squat to seat with resistance band around thighs, Wall squats with exercise ball against back
  • Leg Press: Single and double leg, 30 reps each
  • Bridges: Single leg, 30 reps each leg
  • Step Ups: 12″, 30 reps each leg
  • “TKE”s: aka Total Knee Extensions, using Band around knee to pull back
  • Single Leg Squats to Sit: 30 reps each leg. OMG THIS IS SO HARD
  • Balance while throwing a Ball at a Trampoline: There is no good name for this. Essentially I stand facing one direction with a mini trampoline facing my side and balance on one leg atop a foam pad while throwing a weighted ball at the trampoline then catch it. Both legs, Both directions, 30 reps. This is also SO DIFFICULT.

Physical Therapy has become significantly more difficult the past two weeks. As you can probably tell from my list, I am adding new exercises every session. Some take longer to complete than others and some are more difficult than others. Nothing has been painful.

I am able to make a great workout out of core, arm and PT exercises at the gym and also add in some cardio on the elliptical or stationary bike. There are days that my knee feels a little off or funky, so I take those days easier to rest my knee more. This injury has helped to retrain my brain to take more rest days and listen to my body more. The day I tore my ACL I felt my knees becoming tired after almost a full day of skiing, but instead of listening to what my body was telling me I just powered through the pain. Not smart. As I am trying to stay positive about this injury and recovery, I can take what I am learning and move forward to a healthier life.

Namaste friends.


Prehab Before Surgery

Prehab Before Surgery

The article ACL Road to Recovery touched on the subject of my torn ACL and my now ongoing journey to repair and rehab my knee. This article focuses on Prehab Before Surgery. Once most people find out I tore my ACL the questions start of:

  • How are you moving without crutches?
  • Does it hurt?
  • How can you still do yoga/spin class/pilates/anything?
  • Why are you in PT now??

The prescription of physical therapy prior to surgery was not a question from my doctor. He explained (in more complex terminology) that once you tear your ACL that the hamstring and quad freak out and lose strength. Essentially all of the chair poses/squats in sculpt I was doing were washed away. I had to retrain my right quad and hammy- hence PT. Prehab has been tough both mentally and physically.

  • The first week we focused on firing up my quad and learning how to walk normally. Walking normally had a direct correlation with my ability to fully straighten my leg. My knee needed to reach full extension again. After this was reached we worked on flexion (bending) of my knee.
  • The second week of PT we worked on balance, step ups on a block similar to a large stair and firing up my glutes.
  • This week we are working on more squats, balancing while reaching out for an object, weighted extensions and more glute/hammy engagement. PT is hard but it’s worth it.

The exercise we work on most is called a Quad Set. It’s essentially sitting with both legs in front of you, and engaging your quad to press the back of your knee down towards the ground. Once your knee presses down your heel lifts up off the ground. The first week my PT had me doing this with a towel under my knee to feel my knee press into something. Since the first week she has slowly taken the height of the object under my knee down. I can now fire my quad to press my knee down without anything underneath it. This was a huge accomplishment for me.

Source: Fairview.org

Outside of PT I am utilizing my fancy new spin bike at home while watching YouTube spin classes. I also have taken a few spin classes at FlyWheel and SoulCycle. Both are super difficult and a great workout. I also feel fantastic while in the class and after. I always take necessary modifications and don’t push myself past my limit. At the last FlyWheel class I took I knew that I needed to stop standing in the saddle at a certain point because my knee was starting to ache. Instead of standing with the rest of the class I did those sets while seated on my saddle. No big deal at all.

Mentally I have revised my ego in workout classes. I am not ashamed of taking modifications during classes and am proud that I am able to even workout in the classes with my knee in the state it is currently in. I have taken several Hot Power Fusion classes at my favorite yoga studio, Core Power Yoga.  I have taken this set sequence so many times that I knew that I was able to participate in almost all of the class with a torn ACL. I also knew that the last 10 minutes of class are spent stretching the knee and doing postures while standing on the knees. I never do these postures and am 100% content to sit on a block in a seated meditation. It’s my version of the poses and I am proud.

This has been my “prehab”. A lot of PT, spin classes, yoga and a few pilates classes. I am able to move, workout and strengthen myself physically and mentally. I am able to know my limits and take my body where it needs to be and no further. Yes all of the work I am doing is going to help, and in less than a week I will be back at square one. After this surgery I will be starting over, but by going into surgery strong as I can be, my road to recovery will hopefully be a little bit easier.

Namaste.


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Happy Friday everyone. This week’s Friday Faves articles are about fitness, food and fun. Read some of these articles while you’re sitting on the couch watching March Maddness, laying in bed or just out and about. Have an amazing weekend!

  1. STOP all negative thoughts while at the gym. 10 Toxic Thoughts We’ve All Had at the Gym.
  2. A healthy version of Shamrock Shake? Yes please.
  3. Fact: Yoga is for everyone. Men explain how they got hooked on yoga. 
  4. Because this movie combines my two favorite characters of all time: Bell + Hermione. I personally saw this movie last night and LOVED it. Go see it now.
  5. Just in time for St. Patty’s day. Thrillist lists the best Irish Pubs in America. 

Have an amazing weekend!


ACL Road to Recovery

ACL Road to Recovery

Friends, Followers, Fellow Injur-ees looking for inspiration and community,

I would like to share my new journey to share with you all. An extremely unexpected life event happened almost two weeks ago. I tore my ACL while skiing out in Utah. The dreaded “pop” sound/feeling every athlete dreads happened to me. It wasn’t painful, but it was devestating. I am up and walking around very well and do not require crutches. My ego is bruised but otherwise I am pretty healthy. Just lacking a fully functioning ACL.

In a week and a half, I am slated to go into surgery. The past two weeks I have worked my butt off in a way I didn’t know was possible just to prepare for this surgery. As soon as I felt that dreaded “pop”, I was forced to immediately give up running, fast flowing vinyasa yoga, bootcamp/sculpt classes, and my new found love of boxing classes. I went through about an hour long crying/sobbing uncontrollably about how awful this was and how terrible my life will be. My husband sat patiently next to me holding my hand and once I started to calm down he reminded me that I am a tough woman and a torn ACL will not hold me back. I will be as psychotically active as I can be and that rehab will be my new passion for a few months. The most important thing he reminded me of is that I can do this. Yes my life will change but I am fully capable to getting through this.

Here I am. 2 weeks post injury. In physical therapy or as I like to call it “prehab” twice per week and doing at home PT exercises 2 times per day every day. My current goals include: strengthening my quad, being able to balance on my right leg for over 30 seconds, and gain my full range of motion back. I’ve bought a spin bike and instead of running 4-5 times per week I am spinning and have taken on YouTube spin classes.After 45 minutes I am fully dripping with sweat and pushing myself to get stronger. I am motivated.

I recently read a quote on Pinterest which motivated me to share this journey with you all:

“It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their story” Iyanla Vazant.

This is my story. My ACL road to recovery. I will get further into how I tore my ACL. How I am putting my health and new fitness level first, and how I will get back to where I want to be and then pass that level and get to a level I never knew I could be at.

Telling this story is just as much for me as it is for you. Being able to journal/blog my experiences is my way of coping with this injury. This is my recovery diary. I hope you all enjoy and learn from this. For those of you that are seeking solace from a fellow ACL tear patient- I know how devastated you feel. This will get better. We can do this. Never doubt yourself.

Namaste.