McArdle disease (glycogen storage disease type V) is an inborn error of energy metabolism in the muscle. The effects of McArdle disease on physical performance have similarities with the metabolic state of marathon runners after glycogen depletion and can therefore be seen as a nature’s experiment in the field of sports medicine. Many patients with McArdle disease avoid sports in general because physical activity usually leads to muscle pain and muscle cramps. Often patients therefore regard physical activity as both painful and possibly dangerous. This chapter is about the advantages and possible risks of sports for patients with McArdle disease. The scientific literature will be discussed highlighting both endurance and muscle strength exercise. It will discuss the differences of aerobic and anaerobic exercise in individuals suffering from McArdle disease. Complications as rhabdomyolysis, myoglobinuria, kidney failure, and malignant hyperthermia will be discussed. The chapter will summarize the current knowledge about the possible dangers versus possible benefits of sports for patients with McArdle disease. A summary of recommendations for physical exercise and training for McArdle patients will be provided.
Part of the book: Cellular Metabolism and Related Disorders