So, I am normally a bicycle commuter. Also, I am normally late, so I sprint through company property (occasionally being chastised) to get into position on time.

Sadly, I have been diagnosed with tendinitis (I imagine from the treadmill.) Therefore, I've been told I should try not to run or bike for two weeks!

Therefore, my question is: what can I do to maintain cardio? My access to a lap pool is limited, but it exists.

Edit: Looking, basically, for what cardio I can do that does NOT involve my lower legs supporting much weight or taking a beating. The nature of the restrictions are to rest my left Achilles, if possible.

  • 1
    Only a qualified medical professional can answer this question for you and their answer will be related to the extent which your have tendinitis.
    – John
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 14:14
  • 1
    Is lower body cardio the only thing off the table? If so, a hand pedal bike could help, especially if you have access to a gym with this equipment.
    – Yousend
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 14:23
  • Single leg burpees as shown in this video Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 19:33

4 Answers 4


I've been sidelined with achilles tendinitis for 8 months now. I can't run or bike either; the only thing I can do is swim.

Swimming has worked well for me; I highly recommend it. You won't mess up your achilles further but you'll retain cardio fitness. Any stroke works, and swimming is gentle enough that you can do it for hours if you want.

A word of precaution for when you start your usual activities again: biking can exacerbate achilles tendinitis just as bad as running, especially if your saddle is either too high or low, or you're biking on hills. Pay attention to these things and do only a little at a time at first. Re-injuring yourself by going too hard those first days back out can be even more psychologically excruciating than the original injury, in my experience.


Given the limitations the questioner encounters, a simple solution would be to either to hit the heavy bag for half an hour a day, or sit and perform lightweight dumbell exercises going through the entire range of possible joints and muscles, also for half an hour. Keep up a steady pace, elevate the heart rate, and keep going for the full 30 mins. In my many years of training (over 60), injury has been a problem I have also encountered. Don't let injury of one bit of the body deter you from exercising the bits that still work.

  • +1. "Don't let injury of one bit of the body deter from exercising the bits that still work." Love that. Sums it all up nicely and basically says 'no excuses.'
    – gary
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:02

A very good cardio activity that does not induce any shock in your body (like running) is swimming. You said you have access to a pool (although limited), I advise you to go swimming as much as you can, and alternate swim types (crawl, butterfly, etc)

That being said, if you already have good cardio, you won't "lose" it after two weeks rest! And after these two weeks, start cycling first again if possible (in a gym maybe), that does not traumatize your body compared to running.


Indoor rowing (ergometer) might be another option to explore with your medical advisor.

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