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Anupama Vittal, CEO of the Bean Bag Factory Inc., stretches as part of her rehab routine after injuring her knee. (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)
Anupama Vittal, CEO of the Bean Bag Factory Inc., stretches as part of her rehab routine after injuring her knee. (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

Revving up rehab after knee surgery Add to ...

Anupama Vittal, CEO of The Bean Bag Factory Inc., was a long-time runner before joining a boot camp six months ago, intending to vary her workout. But during her third session, the 38-year-old tore a ligament in her knee. Still on the mend, she's antsy to exercise and blow off some stress.

My goal

"Because of my ACL surgery three weeks ago, I want to be well in four months so I can go back to my regular running routine. I'm aiming for June to do some running, and a 10K by October."

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My workout

"I do what the physiotherapist recommends, which is four exercises to bring flexion back into the left knee, in 10 repetitions three times a day. I do heel slides with a foot on the floor moving the heel side to side; seated heel pulls where I pull the leg close to the chair with my heel; butt squeezes, and heel pumps - basically you move your foot back and forth along a flat surface and do circles."

My lifestyle

"I check e-mail at 7 in the morning for two hours and then see to the daily routine, whether it's organizing the warehouse or attending manufacturing meetings. I take a break at 6 o'clock for dinner, and then go back to work at 8 o'clock until 11, depending upon international markets.

"I'm a vegetarian: no eggs, no meat, no fish. I drink organic soups and herbal tea. I carry a sandwich and eat half at a time. Dinner is bread, vegetables and protein such as tofu, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans and lentils. Two months ago, I added protein shakes to my diet. I take a B12 shot once a month."

My motivation

"A healthy body is a healthy mind. The best way to beat stress is to work out. It releases endorphins, which enhances your mindset, and that helps you balance your life."

My anthem

" I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor."

My challenge

"If I don't work for three days, I feel extremely stressed out. What is most difficult about this injury is, even if you're self-motivated, you cannot go beyond a certain speed because the ligament is back to a basic level, almost like when you were a child. You've got to stretch it, stretch it, and it takes forever."

The critique

Go deep-water running, cycling

Deidre Pretlove, a physiotherapist at Personal Best Physiotherapy in Toronto, suggests exercises that will rev up Ms. Vittal's rehabilitation. "Once the incision heals, Anu could start deep-water running in a pool, where she'll train the same muscles in the same motion without stressing the knee," she says.

"If Anu doesn't have access to a pool, exercising on an elliptical machine or bike may help. She can exercise every other day for 20 minutes, and then as the weeks go on she can progress by adding five minutes."

Do leg lifts

"Any time anybody has an injury around the knee, the VMO [inner quadriceps muscle]note/> loses strength immediately," Ms. Pretlove says. "So Anu needs to do straight-leg raises: Lie down facing up, extend legs; tighten injured knee; lift leg,"

Ms. Pretlove recommends five sets of 15 reps three times a day to regain her power. "In six weeks she'll feel strength coming."

"Any time anybody has an injury around the knee, the VMO [inner quadriceps muscle] loses strength immediately," Ms. Pretlove says. "So Anu needs to do straight-leg raises: Lie down facing up, extend legs; tighten injured knee; lift leg,"

Ms. Pretlove recommends five sets of 15 reps three times a day to regain her power. "In six weeks she'll feel strength coming."

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