Monday, May 6, 2019

It's Going to be One Hot Summer!

Today I was happily reading my new issue of Natural History, which is what I like to do after reading Dirt Rag, and I came across an article by Bill McKibben, the author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out.

In the article, McKibben discusses the prospects of survival of our species given the seriousness of climate change/global warming. Anyone who does not think this is a serious issue either has their head in the sand or is simply ignorant. Rather than criticize, however, I would just like to offer up some sobering statistics excerpted from McKibben’s book and article:

Nine of the 10 deadliest heat waves in human history have occurred since the year 2000, and even the Pacific Northwest now experiences stretches of triple digit temperatures. McKibben notes that “70% of the homes in Portland are now air-conditioned.”

Okay, so you might be thinking, “So what? We live in a modern, technologically advanced society, so maybe they just wanted to add AC to their home… because they can afford it… or because Americans have so much money that they look for things to spend it on."

I think not.

The rise in global temperatures has increased the chance of mass heat-related deaths in India by 150%. In the summer of 2016, temperatures in parts of Pakistan and Iran experienced temperatures at or above 129°F for a couple of days in July—these were the highest recorded temperatures ever measured on earth!

Worse, during that same heat wave, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman had triple digit temperatures combined with high humidity that produced a heat index of over 140°F. But wait… in 2015 a city in Iran experienced a heat index of 165°—the second highest ever recorded on the planet!

I need a breather…

Now I’m going to talk about the two extremes—the Tropics and the Arctic—it is estimated that by 2070, tropical regions that now get maybe one day of truly oppressive heat per year can expect between 100 and 250 days of oppressive heat per year. And the Arctic… well, it is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The Arctic, my friends, is the canary in the coal mine.

The summer of 2018 was the hottest ever recorded on Mother Earth. To quote McKibben, "Africa recorded its highest temperature ever in June, the Korean Peninsula in July, and Europe in August; in America, Death Valley produced the hottest month ever seen on our continent. The world saw the warmest night in history when the mercury in one Omani city stayed above 109°F till morning..."

We can expect a very hot summer folks!

~Lori, CPT (ACE and NASM)

Kids at Risk for Heat Stroke

I finally felt like summer had arrived when I was out on my mountain bike today! Unfortunately, warmer weather can also spell trouble for the outdoor athlete. And children are at even greater risk because they do not tolerate heat as well as adults. Children have immature sweat glands, a lower sweating capacity, absorb heat more readily than adults, and their thirst mechanisms are not fully developed yet.

Thus, I caution parents and coaches to be aware of the warning signs of dehydration, heat cramps, and heat stroke and understand that thirst alone is not an adequate indicator of dehydration in children. Please, please be proactive in keeping your student athletes properly hydrated to avoid serious illness.

Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth/cotton mouth, headache, uncharacteristic crankiness, infrequent urination or dark yellow urine, and heat cramps (usually in the legs or stomach) while signs of heat exhaustion include cool, pale, moist skin, profuse sweating, dilated pupils, headache, and nausea or vomiting. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition, with symptoms that include severe headache, flush (red) skin and absence of sweating, nausea or vomiting, disorientation, and eventually unconsciousness and even death.

To prevent dehydration and heat-related illness, parents need to ensure that their children drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluids 2 hours before participating in outdoor sports. Afterward, children should immediately rehydrate with 16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during practice and consume a high-carbohydrate meal within 2 hours.

Coaches must make water readily available to youth athletes at all times, and young athletes should consume approximately 6 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes during practice. Furthermore, for exercise exceeding one hour, fluids should include carbohydrates (sugars) and electrolytes (sodium and potassium), like a sports drink. Kids don’t know when to stop playing so it is extremely important that parents and coaches err on the side of caution and remove them from the game or practice until properly hydrated.

~Lori, CPT (ACE and NASM)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Cycling to Strengthen Knee Following Surgery

Cycling is a great way to strengthen your knee and get back into shape following surgery. A rehab program must strengthen the leg muscles while also reducing the stresses placed on the ligaments and other structures of the knee. Bicycling is a non-weight-bearing, low-impact, controlled exercise that increases the knee’s range of motion, making it one of the most common exercises recommended by orthopedic doctors after knee injury or surgery. The circular movement also nourishes the knee’s cartilage, contributing to the healing and recovery process (1).
Biking strengthens the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles, which reduce weight and pressure at the joint as stronger leg muscles are better able to absorb the forces encountered during daily activities. Strong leg muscles will protect an existing injury and reduce further injury. Cycling can be nearly as effective as weightlifting in increasing muscle strength while placing less stress and strain on the joint.

A cycling rehabilitation program should follow a systematic progression of increasing resistance levels that keep the knee pain-free (2). Start out slowly and gradually increase the resistance on a stationary bike or progress from riding on flat surfaces to climbing hills or interval training on a road bike. Increasing training volume and intensity too quickly can stress the knee joint and negate the benefits of cycling. Also, avoid standing up on the pedals as this puts too much stress on an injured knee.

Proper fit and positioning on the bike is essential to avoid stress on the joint, which can cause further injury (3). The saddle height should be adjusted so that the knee is bent approximately 25 degrees when the foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and when the pedals are level, the center of the knee joint should be directly above the axle center of the crank arm (4). Additionally, you should be able to comfortably stand over the top tube with your feet flat on the ground.

Whenever possible seek professional advice. Personal trainers and coaches frequently work in cooperation with physicians and physical therapists to develop safe and effective knee rehabilitation programs. Most bike shops can help you find the right bike and make the necessary adjustments to ensure a proper fit. And finally, cycling clubs offer a community of athletes who have experienced similar challenges and can support you in your efforts.


(1) “Cartilage Health - Cycling for Knee Rehabilitation”

(2) The Physician and Sports Medicine: Knee Pain and Cycling, Vol. 32, No. 4, April 2004

(3) W.D. McLeod, T.A. Blackburn, “Biomechanics of Knee Rehabilitation with Cycling,”
The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 8(3):175-80.

(4) How to Set Up a Road Bicycle