It all started 18th November. I had finished a Gym workout. One different to most of the others I had done previously. And then the next morning, early, I went for a 20+ km bike ride. Before I started the bike ride I noticed a pain in the buttocks, well, one of them anyway.
As that day progressed it became increasingly difficult to sit down, with the pain becoming almost unbearable by the end of the day. I decided on a hot bath, and noticed that there was some relief from the pain in doing that. But the relief didn’t last long. I also noticed a large lump in one of my buttocks.
The next day was no better. Actually it was still getting worse. I booked an appointment to see the doctor. And after examination by him, he announced that I had a perianal haematoma. I knew that “haema” meant something to do with “blood”. And the doctor explained that it was basically a huge blood blister or clot from broken blood vessels around the area of the lump. He said they normally go down on their own, and may leave what is called a “skin tag” – something that would be left behind, probably indefinitely. That’s a nice way of saying “for as long as I live”.
Over the next few days, which was a weekend, I spent most of the time either on the couch, laying (not sitting as it was too painful to sit, stand or walk), in a warm to hot bath, or trying to sleep. And it was during the weekend that I noticed some bleeding. “Some bleeding” was apparently normal for this condition, but the amount of bleeding increased, and became more concerning as time went on.
When the weekend was over, my wife booked me in to see the doctor again. Then there was a rather painful “proceedure” to drain the lump. This provided almost instantaeous relief, but there was still some pain – different to the previous pain, but still pain! Following this experience I was determined that this condition was not going to happen again! And so did some research on causes of the condition. And that’s the “life changing” bit.
My research found these as possible causes of the condition:
- Lifting heavy weights (including Gym workouts).
- Sitting for long periods of time.
The problem is that the first 2 are 90% or so of my exercise regime. And the last one is what defines the basic posture I assume in by job (I do software engineering).When I considered that last one a bit more I realised that even most of my exercise regime involves sitting down, either on a bicycle seat or gym equipment. Bummer!
So then I had to face this question and have to grapple with the answer…
Q: How much do I want to stop this condition from happening again. A: currently, I NEVER EVER(!!) want it to happen to me again.
The fact that the haematoma happened within 24 hours of sititng down for work, and both a Gym workout and a bike ride made me suspect a link between those activities and the condition. And if that’s the case then the implication is that a total change in lifestyle may need to take place, from one predominatly sitting down with medium to high intensity exercise (cycling or gym) most days, to one where I predominatly stand with possibly low to medium intensity exercise being the norm. I have already retro-fitted my computer desk so that I stand at it rather than sit at it. So the work posture is more or less sorted out. That may even be enough to stop the condition happening again. But what if it isn’t? What was I going to do to keep fit and healthy?
I enjoy walking, but it’s nowhere near intense enough, and cannot be sustained long enough to be the basis of my exercise regimen because even when I am wearing good walking shoes I can only walk about 14km maximum before my feet really need a rest. I enjoy running, but can’t run too much either or it causes a lot of soreness in the knees and joints. The fact that the condition occured after a gym workout, followed less than 24 hours by a bike ride, suggests it is possible that those two contributed significantly to the condition. And in any case, with the “skin tag” possibly remaining indefinitely and causing discomfort when I sit down for too long, cycling as I have been engaging in it might just have to be given up all together (can you hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth) or engaged in as a ‘luxury’ rather than a core exercise component. There is one possibility : using my wife’s footbike / kickbike, which does not involve sitting and is easier on the knees than running, but in the few rides I have done on it I noticed a lot more muscle fatique than running the same distance, although that will probably lessen if I persist with it. The gym workout will need to be a lot less intense in order to stop the condition happening again, which suggests workouts with a larger cardio component, with muscular endurance being the main goal rather than muscle strength – this is not a bad thing, but would require a significant re-think and some possible experimentation to get right.So far I have come up with this as a possible starting muscular endurance Gym workout:
- Warm up: Treadmill for 10 minutes, distance greater than 1km, speed anywhere up to 9kph for 1 or more minutes.
- Barbell Bicep Curl x 16kg x 20 reps x 1 set.
- Dumbbell Shoulder Shrug x 8kg x 20 reps x 1 set.
- Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press x 8kg x 20 reps x 1 set.
- Iso-Lateral Wide Pull Down x 10kg each arm x 30 reps x 1 set.
- Pectoral Fly / Rear Deltoid x 15kg x 30 reps x 1 set.
- Tricep Extension x 15kg x 30 reps x 1 set.
- Stepper Machine x 20 floors, level 5.
- Cool down: Treadmill x 10 minutes, 14 to 0 slope decrease over 7 minutes, 5kph.
Over the few weeks that have followed since the haematoma, I have tried a few Kickbike rides.
I started off with a 6km or so Kickbike ride, and I managed that ok although I did notice that the muscles were fairly sore the next day. But I was half expecting that. Over the days that followed I did varying length Kickbike rides, between 5 and 8km, and then on the weekend just gone I managed a 19km kickbike ride. All of a sudden, basing my fitness on Kickbike rides started to appear do-able AND desirable. And so I have hatched a plan:
- Sell the mountain bike, and it’s accessories / spare parts (because mostly they wont work on a Kickbike).
- Save up some extra money…
- Then purchase a Kickbike of my own so I don;t have to ride my wife’s Kickbike – either a Sport G4 (a versatile road / cyclocross type model), or a Cross-Max 20D+ (a mountain bike model).
And so now my fitness goals and activities have changed somewhat, from being based on a standard bicycle, to being based on a Kickbike. This means that the avergae kms per ride and average speed per ride will be lower than it was for the bike, for a considerable time at least. I estimate that every km travelled on a Kickbike has a workout equivalent of between 2 and 3km on a standard bike. So if I am ever going to get to riding, say, 100km on a kickbike then my fitness will need to be significantly improved to be able to do so.
Just in case you’ve never heard of a Kickbike before, they are a footbike or scooter with models designed for people aged 8 to 80 (or more) years old depending on the model – they have no pedals / chain / gears, seat, or other complicated mechanics. About the only moving parts they have are the front and back wheels, and brakes. The person riding “kicks” along porivind propulsion. Here are some links to videos, just to show you the possibilities: