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I am a 6'2 (33 yr old male), weighing at 233 lbs.

I have the following ailments:

  • Vitiligo - Due to which doctors advised me not to do any heavy lifting or weights or dumb bells as heavy stretching tends to tear my skin.
  • Partial ACL Tear on my left knee - Doctors advised me not to do any running or jogging etc.

I really would like to lose 20 lbs and with diet alone I am finding it hard to achieve my goal. All I can do for activity now is to lie down and come up and touch my toes without moving my knees.

But I really would like to get into decent shape. To that end I just would like to know whether this stretch is of any use. I try to do 100 repetitions per day.

Will that exercise at least give me any cardio benefit at all, even if it does not help me to reduce weight?

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    Is your doc a sports medicine doctor? It would be worth getting a second opinion from someone whose job is to get people back to activities they want to do, rather than just maximizing safety. Did they say anything about bicycling? I don't recall partial ACL tears being a reason to avoid all exercise. – Dave Liepmann May 12 '15 at 13:18
  • Actually my body shape is kind of weird...I got skinny legs/arms but a pot belly..if you look at my shape you will see that most of weight is around my waist area..Also I did not undergo surgery for partial tear as the tear % was minimal (~20% only) and ortho doctor advised me not to strain my knee heavily..hope it helps – UnderDog May 12 '15 at 13:21
  • Sorry, I don't see how anything you just said relates to anything I just said. – Dave Liepmann May 12 '15 at 15:50
  • @Underdog: Did you intend that comment to be an addendum to your answer? If you click on the edit link above, you can edit it directly into your answer. – Sean Duggan May 12 '15 at 17:16
  • Really you think lie down and touch your toes 100 times is exercise? Have you considered walking around the block? – paparazzo May 13 '15 at 1:06
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First, a point on definitions:

  • Stretching - To lengthen a muscle. (Sit ups would not be considered stretching.)
  • Strengthening - To contract a muscle against resistance.
  • Cardio - Any exercise to raise your heart rate.

All I can do for activity now is to lie down and come up and touch my toes without moving my knees.

Actually, you have a lot of other options. At 33 y.o. you are too young to become a couch potato. If your doctors have advised you to avoid weight lifting, running and jogging, you need to find someone who can tell you what you can do.

A physical therapist (physiotherapist) is a good place to start. Without strengthening exercises for the hips and legs, your knee ligaments will have less protection. A good therapist can also give you advice on overall exercises suited to your skin tolerance and get you started on a good program.

As for your toe touching sit ups, there are better ways to strengthen your abs.

To achieve a cardio workout, you generally want to warm up, exercise in your target heart range for 10-20 minutes if you are a beginner - increasing to 30 minutes or more as your tolerance increases, and then cool down.

You can use many kinds of exercises to achieve a good cardio workout: cycling (stationary if you worry about your knee), elliptical trainers, circuit workouts, swimming, pool running, nordic pole walking, rowing etc. Just check with your therapist to see which ones are best with your knees.

Exercise will help with your diet, but since you are not having the results you want, you may need to refine your diet also. Weight around your middle is not healthy. A registered dietician may help you get on the right track.

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