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DISCUSSION: Heat sensitivity and exercise

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  • #16
    I don't get jello legs or vision problems in heat. I get an overwhelming need to lie down and may be nauseated.

    Funny thing is I can use the sauna at the gym and love it. I go in for 15-30 mins and then come out to cool off instantly and I'm ok. Maybe the sauna is ok because I'm just lying there doing nothing but sweating. But, if I try to run on a hot day I will be so stiff and exhausted.

    My neuro said some people do better in heat and the thing to watch out for is personal safety.

    I'm thinking of a cooling vest or one of those water activated cooling towels/shirts for summer. At least in Seattle I don't have to worry much about excessive heat. 70 degrees is pretty hot for me.


    • #17
      Variable response to heat

      For me, the response to heat is variable. Some days, the heats caused the jello legs or lead legs, other days, it doesn't bother me too much. Although I am somewhat weaker on hot days, I can still ride my bike in the heat.
      Two years ago, on the MS ride here in Kentucky, one day my bike thermometer never registered below 100 and I was the strongest rider on my team and the only one with MS.
      Last week, after riding over 130 miles the weekend before, I went out for a short ride and due to warmer temperatures, I almost didn't make it. I do wear arm coolers and squirt water on them often. I also drink a lot to cool my core.
      So, don't assume that the heat will bother you. Also, acclimate yourself to the heat and you can tolerate more and more.



      • #18
        Update: So I did sit in the hot tub at my moms. I felt like a Saturday night in the middle of no where would be a pretty good time to test it out. There were plenty of people around should I need help. I had to sit on the rim a few times to cool off a bit but I've always been that way. After I got out, I stayed out on the cool deck to dry off before changing into my PJ's. Drank some water and slept just fine. No problems at all!

        I seem to be tolerating the heat ok so far. We had one day last week that was very hot and humid and I felt pretty crappy for a while. Mostly had cognitive issues...hard time coming up with my words and all that. I also had the fuzzy vision and there was no way I was going to walk my dog unassisted that night. It wasn't awful though. I was able to be outside doing yard work the next day.


        • #19
          Both my legs go numb after about 20 minutes on the bike. I tend to cycle around the coastal backroads where the temps are mostly 55-65 degrees F., no matter what time of year. It takes about 45 minutes for them to "come back". This has happened for years, and I just don't pay it any mind any more. I can still ride, even when my legs are numb, and I can still get my shoes out of the SPDs. I have some trouble dismounting, and I usually do my dismount onto a bench or kerb, and sit there drinking my cool water until things get more normal. It's amazing how muscle memory works. I wish I could say the same for playing my guitar in the heat, or when I'm fatigued. The fingers just don't cooperate!
          There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate gear and clothing.


          • #20
            Calf cramp induced by body heat -

            I have had MS for 10 years and have been pretty lucky with my symtoms. I am an avid bike rider and know that I can't go cycling when it is above 90 degrees because I overheat and come apart. In the last 1-2 years I have become much more sensitive to muscle cramps in my right calf after biking anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. I have always combatted this issue by trying to drink more water/energy drink but recently I started to wear a cooling vest (even if it when it is not hot) and I am able to push myself and not cramp. In the past, I would cramp even though I didn't feel hot and didn't have any other MS systems. Just curious if anyone out there has seen a correlation between mild body heat and muscle cramps. I'm still trying to figure this out and have never read any informaiton about exercise cramps.

            I also do some cross country skiing (Minnesota) and realized that I have never cramped even though I have gone skiing (easy) for up to an hour.

            Appreciate hearing your comments.


            • #21
              It probably makes sense that we would tend to cramp more in the heat since our bodies go through more electrolytes trying to keep us cool. Still, I have noticed more cramping lately but in my case at least, I think it may be due to an attempt to lower dietary intake of salt. Ahh, the tradeoff's, lower blood pressure and a possible salt connection to MS vs. cramping in heat.

              I get trashed out in severe heat too but I find I can recover with a cold drink and 10 to 20 minutes in the shade, at least well enough to get out of trouble.



              • #22
                Shawn, I personally haven't had cramping with temps. But I totally get that 90-degree limit. Without a cooling vest, I'm lucky to last 15 minutes....
                Dave Bexfield


                • #23
                  I also have all the heat issues talked about... numbness, bad vision, and my body just doesn't want to deal with the heat like it used to.

                  That said, I did a 70 mile ride this summer in 100 degree temps - by stuffing a 3 Liter camelback full of ice and topping it off it at gas stations along the way. The camelback pack has a mesh back (not foam) so my entire spine was frozen - keeping me nice and cool. I was pretty impressed at how well it worked - My core was kept cold about 4 hours before the ice melted and I needed to refill, and I had freezing cold water along the way. My poor (non-ms) friend got heat stroke! The pack part was an older model, but i'm sure you could modify a new one to rip out the foam backing easily. Just figured i'd pass the tip along to those who don't have cooling vests, or need something that lasts a while.


                  • #24
                    The New York Times just published an article on how to stay cool while exercising in hot weather. If only they had read this thread first! - D


                    Cue your favorite heat-related tune: maybe it’s Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot,” Coolio’s “Too Hot” or Cole Porter’s inevitable “Too Darn Hot,” because it has been almost too darn hot to exercise outside in many areas lately. You might also include the Rio Olympics theme song. “It was very hot,” the women’s Olympic marathon champion Jemima Jelagat Sumgong of Kenya told reporters on Sunday after the 26-mile race, which featured withering temperatures in the 80s and drenching humidity.

                    In such conditions, many people choose to move their workouts into air-conditioned gyms. But whether out of necessity or by choice, others continue to exercise and compete outside.

                    For them, a new study of exercise in the heat could provide both relief and encouragement, because it suggests that one of the simplest, most low-tech ways to cool yourself during steamy workouts may also be the most effective.

                    Dave Bexfield


                    • #25
                      I usually have a spray bottle full of cold water when riding a stationary bike. I'll spray my arms,legs,and neck when my vision starting getting blurry. After my ride, I'll take a cool shower. Dad, I'll have to try pre-cooling. Thanks for the tip!


                      • #26
                        Take a shower during exercise...

                        So, I play indoor soccer most weeks throughout the year. I am moderately sensitive to heat. I can run a half marathon at freezing point and below in about 2 hours. By the time it gets to 40F, I can maybe run a few miles...then I have to slow down or stop. By the time it gets to 65F I can maybe run short distances (a hundred yards perhaps) - but then have to walk. By the time it gets to 85F - walking only and for short distances only. You get the picture. I know that many of us live with more restrictions due to the heat than I do.

                        The building we play in is not air conditioned in the traditional way. Instead uses a more environmentally conscious mechanism which shame on me I am not able to describe.

                        While it does help cool the place - is not as effective as the more traditional environmentally destructive form. Typical temps when playing in this facility in the summer time are in the mid 70s F by about 7:30pm. I can participate but having to rest more by walking or standing than I would if it was a game in the middle of winter where I can run/sprint the entire game.

                        Things I do to help mitigate the heat:
                        - stuff a cooler with my cooling vest and lots of replacement ice packs for the cooling vest
                        - also put other types of ice packs and cold water in the cooler
                        - as the evening progresses, I am swapping out the ice packs in the cooling vest, and draping ice packs around my neck etc..

                        Most importantly though, the facility has a I will go and take a shower between games. This is very much aligned with the concept expressed in this New York Times article about spraying your body with water on a regular basis. Granted, I don't have showers every 5 minutes - but does help to quickly cool the core down to help me continue.

                        Yes, I know that exercising in the heat perhaps not a good idea if you are heat sensitive with MS. But, I enjoy playing indoor soccer - which incents makes me to exercise which I would not during the warm summer months. Is a trade-off between being inactive (not good for any of us) vs. the risk of heat induced symptoms etc.. (also not good).


                        • #27
                          Bumping this important topic back to the top. Staying cool matters, even in winter! -D
                          Dave Bexfield


                          • #28
                            I find that it doesn't need to be hot out to affect me, just warm. Now I keep my house cool and my car. One little trick that I found helped when working construction. I freeze 6 or 7 face cloths that were dipped in water, I put one on the back of my neck while the rest are in my lunch cooler with ice packs. When I need to, I just swap them out.