With record temperatures around the country, you may be wondering if it’s safe for you or your children to train for fall sports or keep up with your regular outdoor exercise routine. Oakwood’s Sports Medicine team has some tips for how to be sensible during your summertime workouts.
For some of you, winter exercise is just another daily adventure, especially if you live in a northern climate. For others, the thought of beginning an exercise routine Continue reading
Equipment in good working order – check.
Food source appropriate for the day’s adventure – check.
Sunscreen – check.
Fluid replenishment – check and double check.
It’s summer time with temperatures and humidity reaching near-record levels. As an outdoor enthusiast or athlete, fluid replenishment should be right at the top of your list.
Sweating is a natural byproduct of exertion and provides a mechanism for dissipating our body heat. Sweat rolls over the skin and provides for cooling of the skin and superficial tissues. The more we sweat, the more fluids we lose and become dehydrated. We also lose valuable electrolytes such as sodium and potassium when we sweat.
Dehydration of a mere 2% of your body weight causes a decrease in performance – for high performance athletes this is can be the difference between a place on the podium and watching from the stands or training room. Dehydration in those of us with average abilities, still decreases our performance and places us at greater risk for heat related problems and conditions.
Engaging in intensive athletic events, practice or training in high heat and humidity is a potential situation for a number of heat related conditions.
Heat exhaustion – is a result of exposure to high temps coupled with a high level of exertion over several hours or days, resulting in a state of dehydration and often accompanied by dark, pungent urine, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, profuse sweating and elevated heart rate (see performance decrease with dehydration above). Remove yourself from the environment preferably in air-conditioning, take a cool shower or sponge bath, replenish fluids, rest.
Heat stroke – is a medical emergency! Heat stroke often is a progression from the milder heat related conditions (exhaustion, cramps) that are left untreated or unrecognized. Prolonged, intense exercise in hot environments >>>dehydration>>>the body’s cooling system fails. Throbbing headache, red-hot-dry skin, lack of sweating, core body temperature over 104 degrees, confusion, disorientation, elevated heart rate all or in part may be present.
Call 911 and until the ambulance arrives, get out of the hot environment, rapidly cool the person by applying ice packs to the armpits, groin, neck; immerse in cool water tub or shower.
Hyponatremia – is a condition that can be caused by, among other things, excessive loss of electrolytes over a relatively short time period. A physical examination, blood test and urinalysis will assist a physician in making the clinical diagnosis of hyponatremia.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
Sports drinks are beneficial. However, the marketing cog of companies wants you to believe (and purchase) their products are necessary all day, every day. That’s not quite the case – there’s a time and place for everything.
For example, if an apparently healthy adult walks the dog in the evening for 3 miles, in hot, humid weather, then water is probably the drink of choice to consume before, during and after the walk.
For the landscaper performing strenuous physical activity for hours at a time in the hot, humid weather, a sports drink in addition to water is more appropriate.
A triathlete completing a training run during lunchtime and then a bike ride in the evening, should consider water and a sports drink following the run, before, during and possibly after the bike ride. Also a small meal or two to refill the energy stores between training sessions.
Youth athletes should be encouraged to drink plenty of water during their practice session and sports drink following the activity.
Heat illness can be prevented with education, proper planning, having resources on hand and a watchful eye.
Playing 9 or 18 holes of golf requires a great deal of concentration, skill and physical ability—what? Physical ability to play golf? That’s right, in order to keep playing for many years, one should follow an exercise routine throughout the year.
The golf swing is very demanding on the muscles in the trunk and legs, as well as a high demand on the spine and associated ligaments. Proper warm up to prepare these structures for the rotation and movement is essential.
- Maintain good flexibility of all the muscles involved, including the hamstrings, calf, low back, mid back, and shoulders. This program should be followed all year long.
- Flexibility of the hip muscles in the front is critical to a good follow through and keeping the workload distributed evenly, saving your lower back muscles.
- Perform slow gentle movements that are similar to those in the golf swing including low velocity trunk rotation, shoulder movements, and partial squats. These can be done holding a club by the grip or at both ends.
- Ideally, a 10 minute warm up should immediately precede the first tee off of the day. This warm up could be brisk walking, stationary biking or light jogging. Break a sweat and you know you are warmed up enough!
- Lastly, if you develop pain in the body during a round of golf, give it a rest and apply the R.I.C.E. principle for the first 24-48 hours (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation of the injured part) and see your doctor if pain or swelling continue past 24-48 hours.
Soon enough there will be plenty of people outdoors getting more exercise. There are a few reminders to keep you on the road and feeling good. If you haven’t been physically active on a regular basis or returning to a fitness routine after a lengthy absence, check with your physician to be sure it is safe for you to begin an exercise program.
- An active warm-up works best! Think of the old-school calesthentics – the goal is to increase your heart rate a bit, break a sweat and prepare your muscles and tendons for the exercise session.
- Maintain good flexibility of all the lower body muscle groups, especially the calves, hamstrings and muscles in the front of the hip. We feel a stretching program should be completed after your training run.
- Wear shoes designed for running. Check at a reputable running shoe store for proper fit, type of shoe etc.
- Start slow and easy! Don’t try to do too much in the first days of your program.
- If you run in the evening or at night, wear reflective clothing so others can see you.
FOR THE ADVANCED RUNNER:
- Respect the 10% rule per week in progressing your training.
- Use R.I.C.E. to manage post-workout soreness, but if the pain or swelling lasts until the next scheduled run, better think twice and see your physician.
- A proper warm up should get your body ready for the day’s workout—10-15 minutes of easy calesthentics or biking should do it
- Replace your shoes after 300-450 miles if you are running more than 35 miles per week. The cushioning of a shoe breaks down quickly, especially with consistent training.
Fact: Between 85 and 90% of bone mass is formed by age 18 in females, and age 20 in males. We reach “peak bone mass” by age 30. — AAOS Orthopaedic (@AAOS1)
This is exactly why it is so important for parents to influence their children and insist on healthy food choices and meals. Sources of calcium include dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), orange juice with added calcium, soybeans and broccoli. Magnesium also plays a role in gathering bone density as it works hand in hand with calcium.
The other important component to storing bone mineral density is….EXERCISE! That’s right, good ole fashioned weight bearing activities, including walking, running, strength training or using weights. Of course, moderation is everything so we are not suggesting the “more is better” philosophy.
As early as age 30 men and women begin to lose bone mineral density – women at a faster rate than men. By age 65-70, men and women lose at the same rate.
The take home message is this: encourage physical activity in your children from a young age; educate your children, especially adolescent girls on the benefits of healthy food choices that include good sources of calcium and magnesium.
“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day…Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball. So we sat in the house. We did nothing at all.”
~ Dr. Seuss
When the weather forecast appears to dampen your outdoor activities, what is your back-up plan to continue your physical activity? Don’t have one? Better get one!
Here are a few suggestions to keep you moving in spite of foul weather.
1.) If you are accustomed to riding your bike and the weather takes a turn for the worse, investing in an indoor bike trainer/stand makes perfect sense. You can still get in a solid workout and hopefully you are back outside in no time.
2.) There are literally thousands of different exercise DVD’s you can use at home. Pick out your favorite one and get to work. It’s only for a day so the boredom that comes with using the same DVD over and over, should be diminished.
3.) Along the lines of the DVD suggestion, there are also many varieties of body weighted exercise plans available online for you to use. These typically provide a short workout (30-40 minutes), encompass total body utilization (that’s a good thing!) and require minimal equipment.
4.) Ever done all the laundry or cleaned the house with a passion? A 155 pound person can burn 317 calories each hour when doing vigorous, heavy cleaning. Get out the mops and scrubbing pads!
5.) Have fun, involve your kids, turn up the radio, dance, sing – whatever will help get you moving indoors until the weather passes!
Our athletic trainers are putting their money where their mouths are – by leading Oakwood employees in the upcoming National Walking Day Wednesday, April 4th. All of the acute, post-acute and corporate sites are holding an outdoors walk and will join employees, executives, physicians and volunteers for a refreshing activity that is good for all!
Just another way in which we aim to improve the health of our communities.
The weather is breaking and we are anxious to get back outside for our exercise or activity. Before you do, there are a few tips to follow so you can get the most enjoyment out of the spring weather.
- If you just beginning an exercise program and either a woman over 55 years of age or a man over 45, a visit to your family doctor should be considered. People in these categories are thought to be at a higher risk and should consult their physician prior to beginning.
- Start slowly and gradually build up your distance, intensity and frequency. Too much, too soon could result in early season injuries or overtraining.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Even with a sunny day and warmer temperatures, wind chill and hypothermia are dangerous conditions that should be considered. Wear a moisture barrier next to the skin that will keep you dry and comfortable. NO COTTON next to the skin! Wear an outer layer that is water repellant in case of unpredictable rain/snow.
- If you are a competitive runner, cyclist, marathoner – keep in mind this early portion of the season must be dedicated to aerobic base building, which means mileage at a comfortable, slightly slower pace (see point above regarding overtraining). You’ll have plenty of time for speed work and interval training once you build that base.
- Safety first, always! Wear reflective clothing at dawn/dusk; run against the flow of traffic; bike with the flow of traffic; use hand signals when turning or changing direction; be aware of the weather conditions and potential impact on your activity or training session (frost on the pavement, snow, ice); warm up and cool down indoors if possible.
- What is a proper warm-up? The idea is to prepare the body, joints, ligaments and muscle tissue for activity. The goal of a warm-up is to break a light sweat, raise your heart rate above resting value – this will promote circulation and better prepare you. Riding a stationary bike for 5- 10 minutes, jumping rope for 3-5 minutes or general calisthentics can accomplish this goal.
By The Numbers
Water is an essential component for all processes the body completes each day. While most of these processes occur without our awareness, without adequate water availability they would not occur, and in cold weather, not enough water increases certain problems.
The human body is made up of 70% water; most of the water is found in and around tissues like skin and within the tiny individual cells that make up our body parts like organs. We lose water on a daily basis in the following ways:
- 1/2L lost through normal breathing
- 1/2L lost through perspiration
- 1.5L lost through urine and bowel excretion
- >2L lost through exercise
The loss of water throughout the day is usually replenished when we get thirsty. During warmer weather we are very aware of water loss because of the sweating mechanism our body uses to keep cool. But what about during colder weather; do we still lose water? Do we sweat as much during colder weather exercise?
How Does It Work?
The kidneys regulate the amount of fluid loss through urine output and actual water lost through exhalation is negligible. Food items containing caffeine (tea, chocolate and soft drinks) can increase output since caffeine acts as a diuretic. When our bodies have enough water on board to facilitate all the transactions each day, any excess can be expended through urine output.
What if there isn’t enough water on board throughout the day?
Dehydration can occur when we don’t take in enough water to compensate for the water lost during routine processes or exercise. How does one know if they are dehydrated?
The thirst mechanism is usually a slow reaction to an event that has already taken place and therefore not a reliable indicator of hydration.
Urinary markers for dehydration include a reduced urine volume, a high urine specific gravity, a high urine osmolality, and a dark urine color. Specific gravity and osmolality are measurements taken in a clinical setting by a healthcare professional. However, the individual easily assesses volume and color.
Other symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Irritability, headache, fatigue
- Weakness, dizziness, nausea
- Having a dry or sticky mouth
Dehydration and Performance
Dehydration negatively affects competition, training and recovery during. Exercise heart rate increases, blood flow to the skin decreases which helps cool the body during exercise and the core body temperature can increase more than it should during exercise. Performance decreases with a loss of 1-2% of bodyweight. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between performance and body water lost.
Cold Weather Hydration
Awareness, recognition and education are the ways to help prevent dehydration during cold weather training.
While proper clothing is essential during cold weather, some of the same technology that keeps us comfortable may inhibit the ability to appreciate sweat rate or water loss during exercise.
The goal is to replace 100% of sweat and electrolytes lost during exercise outdoors. The recommendations are 1/2L of fluid per kg of weight loss. Use a simple weigh-in/weigh-out procedure to determine the amount of kg’s lost. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends ingesting 125 ml (5 ounces) every 20 minutes of exercise.
Understand that we continue to lose fluids, even during cold weather exercise, and the importance of replacing those fluids in order to stay healthy and have a positive effect on performance.
Nutritional Considerations in Cold Weather
By The Numbers
Energy expenditure is 2X greater on wet or snow covered surfaces than on regular surfaces and the heavier clothing essential to cold weather training increases energy expenditure. Vasoconstriction, which is a reaction to cold temperatures, reduces blood flow to peripheries and thereby decreasing fat utilization. Glycogen usage increases in colder weather, resulting in fatigue.
How Does It Work?
Exercise rate at the beginning of a session can maintain body temperature, however a prolonged training session will deplete stored reserves of fuel in the form of glycogen. The resulting effect is fatigue and subsequently blood glucose and cold intolerance.
As the intensity of training decreases, muscular activity decreases, accompanied by a lower body temperature. In extreme cases, the end result is hypothermia or even death.
Cold Weather Nutrition
Maintaining cold weather nutrition presents unique challenges that must be overcome in order to stay healthy and continue training. In extreme climates, food and drinks can freeze, making them difficult to handle and ingest during a training session, not to mention palatability.
The nutrition should be high in carbohydrate content, easy to carry and access during a training session. Taking in a small meal prior to cold weather exercise is recommended; 1-4 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight usually 2-3 hours prior to session. This will help replenish stored fuel reserves (glycogen) in the liver. During the actual training session, 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour is recommended in order to replenish blood glucose.
Breakfast (30 to 45 grams of Total Carb)
Lunch (30-45 grams of Total Carb)
Dinner (30-45 grams of total carb)
Snack (15 grams of total carb)