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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Exercise in Hot Weather

Team CMT member Di Billick

Today it is going to be hot (100F) and humid in Milwaukee.  You can exercise safely in hot weather if you take a few common sense precautions.

Take water with you and if you are going to run or bike longer than an hour than take a sports drink to replace electrolytes.    I like accelerade.  Find an option like Gatorade,  Exceed or Powerade that works for you.  For long runs I use a Camelbak that holds 32 oz of fluids. In warm weather I take a bike bottle filled with water for every ride and run.  Getting dehydrated will lead to more fatigue and more muscle soreness. You can even get muscle cramps from getting dehydrated.

Avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day. Right at dawn and dusk are the coolest parts of the day, at least here in Milwaukee. The temperature can be significantly cooler at this time of the day. Take advantage and do your workouts at this time.  I also head to Lake Michigan when it really hot because it is usually 10 degrees cooler near the lake and there is often a nice cool breeze on the bike path.

If it is only going to be hot for a day or two switch around your workouts. I will move my swim workout to a really hot day and save the run for a cooler day.   There are options for indoor workouts as well.  Use a really hot day for your off day, you should be taking one every week.

The Petitt here in West Allis has 450 meter running track. Many runners use it in winter but don't think of it as a summer option.  A treadmill can also be a good option if heat and humidity are at dangerous levels. Check out your options at health clubs or your work exercise facilities.

Cut back on the intensity on really hot days.  A lighter workout or two is not going to hurt your performance.  Overheating can set you up for fatigue or injury if you work out too hard in hot weather.  Do a long easy run or easy speed work on really hot days.

When I ran the Boston marathon this year it was on blacktop roads with little shade.  The air temp may have been near 90 F, but it was much hotter at road level.  Choose routes with trees and shade. Your workout will feel much cooler.   Run with the wind at your back to start your workout and into the wind to get some cooling later in the workout when you will be hotter.  I also will run through neighborhood lawn sprinkers on a really hot day.  The same folks water their lawns every day and I make them part of my route. It is a nice cool down.

Medical Conditions
I have CMT and my body does not regulate temperature well. I don't sweat much. So I really have to watch to make sure I don't over heat. When I race I take two cups of water from the aid table. One goes on me and one in me.  Know any medical conditions you have that make you sensitive to heat and take precautions.

Also know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Stop exercising if you ever feel dizzy or nauseaous.  Get into a cool area and get fluids.  Be smart and you can exercise safely even in extreme summer heat.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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