Working with limitations

Around the start of spring last year I broke my right wrist. It happened at capoeira training while breaking my fall from a well timed sweep kick from my instructor, and after a month of nursing what I thought was a bad sprain, I was advised by my exercise physiologist (that’s our friend and fellow instructor Jade) that it could be my scaphoid bone and that I should get it checked out to avoid further complications. Our local doctor and good friend Dr Baffsky referred me to the hand specialist unit at Sydney hospital where I was told that I had indeed fractured my scaphoid and would have to be in a cast for 6 weeks.

Have you ever tried using only your non-dominant hand? Having a cast on my right hand made it difficult for me to do a lot of things that you just take for granted. Eating, brushing my teeth, going to the toilet, getting out of bed, opening bottles or jars, writing, the list goes on and on. I couldn’t pick anything of significant weight up which affected my capacity to work and help around the house. But one of the main things that was affected, and the thing I want to focus on here, is that I was unable to exercise the way that I usually do.

This was extremely frustrating for a person like me who has a lot of energy. One of the benefits of exercise for me is that it helps me relax, let’s me deal with the stresses of the day to day grind and burn up any excess energy I may have in my body. I’m quite determined (and often stubborn) at times, and tried to continue training and lifting things at work. I started doing a lot of leg exercises which led to an issue in my hip. I tried to lift with my left hand which led to a sore back. I quickly realised that I would have to be patient during my rehabilitation and let my body heal, and that I wasn’t going to be able to exercise in the same way as I was used to doing. No lifting weights. No capoeira. No surfing. No football or contact sports. I was not happy and felt frustrated at the situation.

I could have easily given up, stopped training and just played the waiting game. But deep down I knew there had to be something I could do. So I concentrated on using my body in a way that was pain free and functional for me at this point in time. In the gym I stretched, and performed isolated exercises that were suitable for me. Outside of the gym I started going for longer walks with the dog. I started reading more, meditating for longer periods at home, and joined a Qi Gong class (similar to Tai Chi) in the city. All of a sudden I was busy again improving the health of my body and mind, using up my energy and time, and feeling good. I was inspired by the different things that I was doing and enjoying the new skills I was acquiring. All of this with my cast on.

I now have my cast off and am back in the swing of things. I’m lifting weights again, back at capoeira training, surfing and football. I’ve even taken up rock climbing since getting my cast off! I also am now training Qi Gong regularly with my new school and have found myself reading and meditating more than I was before. And loving it!


I guess the point I’m trying to make is that there is always something that you can do.


There will always be obstacles that we will encounter during our life time that will prevent us from doing what we want to do. The key is to stay inspired, find variety in your life, do what you love, seize the moment and stay positive. If I had never broken my wrist I would never have joined the kung fu school and set set myself on that path of learning, and I probably wouldn’t have read all those books.

So if you or anyone you know has any limitations (mental or physical, permanent or temporary) and feel that you could do with some help please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of us at the gym for a free personal training session so that we can help you find the best way for you to stay fit and overcome your limitations. We would love to help you.

See you in the gym,

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