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IBX Insights

What to Do When You Can’t Do What You Want to

By November 27, 2012June 28th, 2017Well-being

This fall I had fitness goals, lots of them:

  • 100 pushups in a row.
  • A 100-mile, single-day bike ride.
  • Comfortably touch my toes.

Fat chance. But in September these goals didn’t seem unreasonable. Biking was coming along nicely, I had finished 73 pushups in a row, and yoga was doing the trick of making the comically inflexible me a little more bendable.

Then came the hurt.

Towards the end of the summer, I injured my back, and months of inactivity followed as I tried resting as a strategy for getting well. (P.S. : If you’ve never injured your back before, good for you. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s awful.) Unfortunately, resting wasn’t doing the trick.

All the races, all the pushups – forget it. Touch my toes? Nice dream. When I was at my lowest ebb I got depressed if I dropped my keys on the floor because I would wonder how in the world I was supposed to get all the way down there to pick them up.

Take up a new hobby?

One of the biggest challenges was figuring out what to do with my newfound spare time. Exercise had been a dependable stress buster, mood lifter, and fun to boot. So, what to do instead?

I have to admit, I’m still having trouble answering this question. Reading, creative writing, watching Humphrey Bogart films. These are all good, but none of them is a perfect substitute for regular physical exercise, and I’m having a hard time filling the gap.

Slowly getting back…

If, before I got injured, all my fitness goals were the equivalent of a baseball player swinging for the fences, now I’m settling for bloop singles. Instead of hours tearing up the streets on bikes, I’m on the recumbent bike knocking off 10- or 15-minute sessions at a time. Pushups will come in time, and while I can’t touch my toes, stretching is helping me battle whole-body tightness, making me more limber and able to do everyday activities. Still, I can’t help feeling silly when I struggle doing simple activities that I used to be able to do without sparing them a second thought.

Activity – and I mean almost any activity – is helping to speed my recovery along, and before I know it I’ll be back in the bike saddle again. At least that’s the plan…

Have you dealt with an injury that sidelined you? I’d love to hear how you were able to get back into game shape while staying sane.


I’m a senior copywriter at IBX. For years I’ve been living a bike-centric life, but now I’m looking for new ways to get active that go beyond pedaling to work every day. On the personal side, I enjoy writing, old movies starring John Wayne, and getting lost in unfamiliar cities. Keep checking back as I share my tiny triumphs and small setbacks on the road to better health.