Q. I've always been fit and very active. I belonged to an exercise class that met three times a week. I had eye problems which resulted in two eye operations on the same eye. My doctor says no more exercise classes and don't do anything that will jerk the head. Already I feel a difference in my midsection and don't want my fitness level to get any worse. Can you offer any suggestions for someone in my condition?
A. Strictly adhere to the advice of your physician. Your doctor knows what's best for you. I'll give you some suggestions, but make sure you consult with your doctor before trying any of them.
From the information you've given me, I must assume that running, jogging, jumping rope, racquetball, tennis and aerobics are no- nos.
For recreation, you might consider something like bowling, pool or billiards. As for orgnizing a fitness program, I see no problem with stretching for you. All stretching movements should be performed in a slow controlled manner (no bouncing). You are stationary during each stretching movement, which should eliminate any eye danger, but check with your doctor to be sure.
When it comes to conditioning the heart and lungs, a stationary bicycle might be the answer. Riding a stationary bike shouldn't jostle the eye. Perhaps your doctor would allow you to ride a regular bicycle outside if you can find a non-bumpy bike path.
Swimming is another option for conditioning the heart and lungs. Your doctor might recommend a good pair of goggles to prevent infection to the eye.
Developing and maintaining muscular fitness shouldn't be a problem. All strength-training movements (regardless of equipment) should be performed in a smooth and controlled manner.
Your doctor might discourage any movements that place the upper body in a bent- forward position. If so, eliminate the following movements: pushup, bent-over-row, good morning, stiff-legged deadlift and the hyperextension.
Another concern you might have is your eating habits. If you're less active now, you'd better cut back on your caloric intake. If you don't, you may start adding some unwanted pork.
I see no reason why you can't maintain and significantly improve your fitness level. You may be limited in appropriate activities, but this should not limit the degree of fitness you can attain.
But, once again, remember that you must huddle with your doctor to develop a safe and effective game plan.