Summer exercise: How to keep cool in hot weather.

Whether it is soccer in the park, a bike ride, a hike in the mountains, or just a day in the yard; when the summer heat comes it is important to be prepared.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke, dangerous side effects of overdoing summer exercise, come when the body can no longer sustain the pace, the heat, the humidity, or the loss of fluid.  The body cools off by sweating, and as long as you remain hydrated, the body is able to cool itself off.
When you become dehydrated, the problems start.
Signs of heat related illness include general fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, and an increase in body temperature.
This doesn’t mean you have to abandon your quest for a great summer workout. Just follow these simple guidelines to exercise smart in the heat.

• Take it Slow.  Take it easy at first.  As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts or your time outside.
• Drink Plenty of Fluids.  Drink plenty of water while you are working out- even if you don’t feel thirsty.   Try to avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, which actually promote fluid loss.
• Dress Appropriately.  Wear lightweight, loose fitting clothing promotes sweat evaporation and cooling by letting more air pass  over your body.  Avoid cark colors which absorb heat.
• Avoid the mid-day sun.  Plan your outdoor activity for the morning or evening- when it is cooler outdoors. 

Suffering from workout boredom?

If you are like me at the gym, you get bored easily.  Even when listening to Boom Boom Pow on my Ipod and watching the guy in the corner to see how much he can bench press before he passes out. I run for 20 minutes and only burn 225 calories (I know, not the fastest 2 miles in the world).  This routine was getting old for me.  I had heard a lot about interval training and how it can maximize time in gym and decided to try it.
What is it you ask, well, interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.  It really is not as complicated as you think. It’s all a matter of speeding up and slowing down throughout your workout.  Whether you’re a novice exerciser or you’ve been working out  for years, interval training can help you mix up your workout routine.
Consider the benefits:

You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity.
You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine, and you will forget all about the guy bench pressing in the corner.
You can use interval training workouts any way you want - running, cycling, swimming, on elliptical trainers, even walking if you alternate a speed walk and slow walk.  There is no single accepted formula for the ratio between intense activity and lighter activity, but some guidelines apply. The high-intensity phase should be long and strenuous enough that a person is out of breath and recovery periods should not last long enough for their pulse to return to its resting rate.
Here is an example of a workout
1. 3 - 5 minutes warm-up
2. 30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
3. 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
4. 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
5. 90 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
6. 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
7. 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
8. 30 seconds high intensity
9. 3 - 5 minutes cooldown

-Amanda Reichert, M.Ed., CHES

Couch Potato Soccer

Funny or True??  Maybe a little bit of both.

Q: I have heard that those who are really active need to take vitamins above the recommended amount. Is this true?

While it is true that exercise increases the rate of metabolic reactions which are oxidative in nature, it is also true that our body adapts by increasing the amount of enzymes needed to support the reactions. We shouldn’t need to take any additional vitamins, provided we are eating an adequate and balanced diet. You can visit to obtain a diet plan tailored to your gender, age and physical activity level. A daily multivitamin is nice “insurance” and may help fill those occasional gaps in your diet. If you feel well, are otherwise healthy, and don’t feel excessively tired and lethargic, chances are you are meeting your dietary needs. Remember that you need adequate rest and fluids between bouts of intense exercise to help your body recover adequately.

-Aurora Buffington, MS, RD