Exercising in the heat

Living in Arizona, it can sure be tough to get out and pound the pavement when the temps climb into triple digits. Many people recede to the gym, and work out in air conditioned comfort, but I have always hated the gym (variety of reasons). So I lace up my shoes at lunch and go for a run, or I ride my bicycle in to the off (always good for a 106F+ ride home).

People in the office look at me like I am from Mars.

But it can be done safely. There are precautions that you take, and symptoms that you look for while on your outdoor fitness excursions:

  • Pre-load with fluids. If you are going to run at lunch, drink 2 – 3 12oz glasses of water in the hour before you head out. Your body will need it.
  • Bring fluids with you. I go through about 16 oz for each 3-4 miles I run. If you begin to cramp, drink.
  • Put some electrolyte supplements in your water. In the summer I use Accelerade, a protein/carb mix that really does help recovery.
  • Don’t “start” cold turkey. The key is to acclimatize yourself. Start in early spring, and keep at it as the temps rise. You will not “shock” your system, and it will become more enjoyable (plus exercising regularly is a great stress reliever)
  • If you cramp, become dizzy, disoriented or “dazed” STOP.  Call for help.  The difference between a comfortable albeit it hot run, and heat stroke can happen quickly.  Carry a phone.

It isn’t for everyone, but if you prepare, and ease yourself into it, you can keep your outdoor fitness going, even in the baking Arizona sun. Use common sense, and don’t push too hard.

Fitness Update (was how I am trying to not be a “People of Walmart”)

Been a while since I updated. I started this quest about 2 months ago (actually April 9th, I started weighing myself daily), and I was 232#’s. I began counting calories, and tracking everything I ate, as well as trying to be more diligent about exercising.

In early May, I got back on the bicycle (first ride in 6 months or so, I was rusty and SORE afterwards), and have been getting more diligent about hitting the streets.

The weight has been inching down. Not as fast as I would like to see, but a pretty consistent 2+ pounds a week.  There have been some setbacks. My birthday dinner, and our anniversary dinner were good splurges, but they did slow the rate of decline. Additionally when I started getting more serious and regular about cycling, I suspect that I was trading adipose fat tissue for muscle tissue. My legs are coming back, and it feels great to ride for 25 – 30 miles at a stretch.

Today, I am at 214#’s, spitting distance to 20#’s off, and I feel pretty good.  I think I might be able to start jogging at lunch time again, something my feet and my weight have prevented me from doing.

The goal is to get to ~ 190#. That is a pretty comfortable weigh for my frame.  At this rate, by the end of summer, I should be able to get there.

A good problem

Life is a series of challenges, but some are more welcome than others. Today I bicycled into the office, showered and changed into street clothes.  I brought in a pair of jeans, a polo shirt and the usual accoutrements. After showering, and dressing I made a stark observation:

My jeans are almost too big to wear.

Woo hoo, what a good problem to have.  I don’t yet need to shop for more clothes, because I have sets of clothes that will follow me down to below 190#’s, but it is a good feeling.

The joys of daily medications

Since I have had a bout with coronary artery disease (a mild understatement), I get to daily take a fun regimen of medications. Prior to my “event” I had battled high blood pressure (ironically, my cholesterol was OK), and was on an ace inhibitor to keep it in the “sane” range.

Post event, my cardiologist has been much more aggressive.  I am still on the ace inhibitor (which really was almost side effect free), and we added anti clotting drugs, as well as both a statin to lower cholesterol (they like to keep it really low, about 80), and a beta blocker.

Beta blockers are the devil.  It does help lower my blood pressure, but it also lowers both my rest pulse rate, and my metabolism. The heart rate reduction is particularly pernicious, as it makes it difficult to get into a good aerobic zone for exercising. I can work my ass off, and never get above a pule rate of 130BPM.

The bad of this is that while I am certainly burning the calories of the exercise, my heart rate monitor sees me as not exerting as much as I am, and thus it tries to adjust my statistics accordingly.

Alas, there is no hope for change. Every year when I go for my stress test, I have to stop taking the beta blocker for 2 days prior. And my blood pressure goes through the roof. Like 150/99.