Summer 2009 (Runners’ Issue – Special Edition)
By Drew Heideman MPT, ATC, PES
Stretch 2009 (Runner’s Issue – Special Edition): How to Exercise Safely in the Hot Weather
By: Sonya Thigpen, PTA, ATC
As Floridians, we know a thing or two about hot weather. Exercising outdoors in the heat can
be dangerous; during extreme heat waves it is best to move your routine indoors. But, for those
of us that dread using a treadmill or want to be outside there are some ways you can exercise
safely. Below are five steps to stay cool (and safe) on even the hottest of Florida days.
1. Drink before you are thirsty. When you begin to feel
thirsty you are usually already dehydrated. Drink a few cups of
water 1-2 hours before you head outdoors. Once you begin your
workout you should have a drink every 20 minutes or so.
Remember to drink water for aquatic sports as well; just
because you are exercising in the water doesn’t mean you are
2. Don’t forget to eat. Sometime the heat curbs your
appetite but it is never safe to exercise on an empty stomach.
Even if you feel like it is too hot to eat, try foods like apples or
carrots; they are naturally filled with water and will help keep you
3. Wear sunscreen. Most doctors recommend SPF of 30 or
higher and make sure to reapply often. Not only is a sunburn
bad for your skin, but it can also increase your body temperature
and put you at an increased risk for future workouts.
4. Avoid exercising when the sun is directly overhead.
This usually means timing your workout for either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Always look for paths that are shaded and try to avoid running or walking on pavement which will
absorb the sun (and heat).
5. Wear light weight, loose fitting clothing. Light colors work best as they deflect the sun’s
rays. Clothing made of 100% cotton or that have a “moisture wick” material that moves sweat off
your body are the most ideal.
Stretch 2009 (Runner’s Issue – Special Edition): If The Shoe Fits
By: Drew Heideman MPT, ATC, PES
Think back to the last pair of athletic shoes that you bought. What factors were
considered when you decided to purchase them? Did you consider: Color? Brand?
Price? Celebrity Endorsement? If these were the only factors that you considered, you
may not be too satisfied with your purchase; or worse, you may have contributed to
your own injury. Wearing shoes that fit properly and are designed for your foot type
can help to prevent and alleviate many overuse conditions that are seen in the athletic
and active population.
Generally, the job of the foot is to absorb the force of the body at foot contact and to
provide forward propulsion just before the foot leaves the ground. Your foot type
determines how well it can do both of these things. Most feet can be classified into one
of three major groups. First, those with pes cavus feet, or feet with high arches,
typically have a less flexible foot that is good at propulsion, but not as good at
absorbing force at contact. Conversely, pes planus feet or feet with flat arches absorb
force well, but are poor with propulsion. The third foot type is classified as normal,
which falls somewhere in between a pes cavus or pes planus foot.
Shoe construction also falls into three major categories which match up to the three
foot types. Cushioned shoes have the softest foot-bed and mid-sole, and the least
amount of support across the inside portion of the shoe. This type of shoe is most
appropriate for those with medium to high arches. The second type of shoe is called
motion control. This shoe offers less cushioning, but more support along the inside of
the shoe. This shoe is most appropriate for those with a low arch and whose foot rolls
in towards the middle when walking or running. The final type of shoe is known as
stability or neutral. This shoe has a mix of cushioning and support and is designed to
optimize mechanics for those with a normal arch.
When choosing your next pair of shoes, before you consider color, brand, or price,
consider the shoe type. In order to prevent injury and to get the most out of your
shoes, make sure that your foot type matches up with the type of shoes that you intend
to purchase. For more information on types of shoes visit a reputable shoe retailer or
check out the resources from the manufacturer. Your physical therapist will also be
able to direct you to the appropriate shoe choice based on your foot type and/or injury.