Warmup Exercises Can Dramatically Reduce Your Chances of Injury from McArdle’s Disease
DISCLAIMER: This is not professional medical advice, but simply anecdotal information shared by an individual with McArdle’s disease. Seek guidance from your informed physician before beginning an exercise regiment if you have McArdle’s disease.
If you have McArdle’s disease, whether you were diagnosed recently or years ago chances are you have known for a long time that something was quite wrong with your muscles. Perhaps as a result you’ve come to avoid exercise altogether or find yourself in a more sedentary lifestyle than you would like.
Ironic as it may seem, exercise itself may be in fact the most effective treatment I’ve encountered for coping with McArdle’s disease. The physiological responses of the body to exercise, which include:
- Release of growth hormone by the pituitary gland to stimulate growth of bone, muscle and connective tissue
- Improved circulation
- Improved natural regulation of blood glucose levels
…seem to make “blasting” a lot less likely (“blasting” being the painful cramping that can also cause elevated blood protein levels, as well as a high fever and a day in bed in agony.) It stands to reason that the body’s response to exercise works to “stave off” or partially mitigate the circumstances from which injury-causing failure episodes arise.
Consider the following. Improved muscular and connective tissue strength equip the body with a higher “taxing” threshold for brief anaerobic motions such as squatting, bending over, lifting things from the car or to a shelf, or even carrying laundry. Improved circulation equips muscle cells individually with more ready access to blood-borne substrates such as fatty acids and blood sugar. Blood sugar levels, of course, through exercise and prudent dietary choices are less likely to experience devastating peaks and valleys. (People with McArdle’s disease are probably very attuned to their blood sugar levels, as only brief moderate exercise allows them to experience exactly how much or how little energy their muscles have access to at the cellular level.)
Speaking for myself, I know that if I get up from my desk and go sprint around the yard with my dog, I’m likely to feel it and have to stop lest I incur a muscle injury. However, there are days when I have extended endurance and feel markedly stronger which are preceded by periods of diligent, careful exercise involving extended warm-up periods.
Why Warmup is So Important for People with McArdle’s Disease
Once I’m warmed up, I’m able to jog longer or run up and down the basketball court a little easier, or climb more stairs, or move from one airport terminal to another and keep up with my companions. I can do this without the fear that failure – which, if the limits are pushed, is ALWAYS inevitable – will result in a painful “blasting” episode. As such, this exercise I’m able to experience without anxiety about falling down or cramping is likely as good for my body as it is for any normal person. Walking, jogging, hiking, biking – all in moderation, using common sense, with careful warmup – I can pull them off.