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I sympathize. I've had a very similar scenario this year myself. I was very active and working out 6 days a week with my cardio being kickboxing. I love kickboxing and had been doing it almost 2 years when I just couldn't ignore my knee pain anymore. The doc finally did some real tests on it and found that I have no cartilage in my left knee and a torn miniscus. This is related to an older injury that I thought I had recovered from years ago but turns out it wasn't treated properly and resulted in the loss of all my cartilage. Yay. So I may have to give up kickboxing completely and I'm just not ready to admit to that yet. I'm also not thrilled with the "old lady" diagnosis when I'm only 45!

I started swimming on doctor's advice. I was determined I was going to get a good workout and wasn't going to just kick around in the pool. I've found that I can get a REALLY good workout swimming and have almost completed the zero to 1 mile challenge (much like the couch to 5K but with swimming for a mile). It works your core too by the way. It works it a lot. I pulled an abdominal muscle over Thanksgiving which meant I had to rest it for a week. Because it is low impact, I just don't know when I should stop sometimes so it is a bit of a challenge. I also get that endorphin high more often than I did with swimming and that ain't bad.

I got injured and found that water exercise was terrific (I was VERY reluctant to try it). Now I teach water aerobics. It's fabulous for your core strength, and can be very aerobic. Good luck on your recovery!

After 40+yrs of running, I too have had to stop for a while to permit healing. Pilates is great as runners typically have weaker core muscles. Water workouts are wonderful, though it is hard to accept I am old enough to enter the water aerobics era of my life. At least I am the youngest in the class. Have you thought about running in a pool? Or wearing a water vest so you can safely tread water for half an hour or more? A great leg work out. Opting out of setting a distance goal for 2013 is a smart idea.

That is so frustrating! I am sorry. I hope you find a work out that works for you in the new year. Me - I'm still trying to find something I can stick to.

I'm sorry. For an active person, anything that sidelines that activity seems to be the worst. I have unfortunately gained quite a bit of weight since my doctor said I should stop running. I'm at the stage of just trying to maintain, because I'm tired of gaining.

I'm sorry you've had the bad luck to end up with back and leg pain.
I hope your recovery continues well.

Swimming has really helped my mom deal with her sciatic pain. She swims daily...the gentle twist of doing front crawl keeps her limber and her back has been really good for years now! I suggest it, once your doctor clears you to try it.

Aww....that really sucks. I have a similar story (maybe a wee bit more complicated in some ways), and am just hoping to go back to running a very little bit in late spring. Take care of yourself, there's no fast way out!

Depending on the level of your disc, you might be able to successfully try spin classes (check with your doc and physio first, of course). That is the one cardio activity I can do, and it's a good 'fix' if you've gotten used to some high intensity workouts. If you get into trouble with your back, you also don't end up stranded 10 km from home!!

Hang in there!!!!

I just had to de-lurk to say that I, too, had a herniated L5-S1 disc, and that it happened when I was just a bit younger than you are (I'm nearly 42 now), in the best shape of my life, and we still don't know exactly what did it. I thought at first I'd torn a hamstring in yoga, then my achilles tendon started to hurt - couldn't figure out why. We finally connected them all when my left leg started to go numb. (My back never hurt once, in all of that.) After nearly two years of constant pain in my left leg, increasing numbness in my leg, and finally some loss of muscle function (in spite of PT, etc), I ended up having a fusion. In the end, I'm glad I did, although I really wish that PT had done it instead (surgery isn't much fun), but I did end up with some permanent muscle function loss in that leg - it just doesn't "listen" the way it used to, and a sciatic nerve that is VERY sensitive to being used or stretched in particular ways (oh, how I miss forward bends!). The one thing I could and did do throughout everything (even post-operatively), that saved my health and my sanity? Walking. Lots and lots and lots of walking. It's not running - I've been enviously watching my SIL this year as she's worked her way up to a half-marathon, but I realize that that's just not my wisest choice - but it's very good (and I still occasionally outwalk joggers :) ). I also swim, do pilates, and I'm (finally!) trying to add some yoga back into my routine. Most weeks I walk between 12 and 15 miles, depending, sometimes more. So, I guess what I'm saying is that it's really worth doing what you have to do to get healthy, even though I know how hard it is to back away from doing something that you love and that feels good (for example, I had to give up yoga classes - no way to take a yoga class without forward bends, and I couldn't modify them enough to keep them from causing cascades of tingling pain down my leg the next day - what I call "wasabe leg"). Hang in there!

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