By Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
You may have spent the past couple of months gorging on holiday treats, avoiding the gym, and making promises that you’ll get back on track come January. Have you starting living your healthy lifestyle yet or are you still overcoming a holiday hangover? Either way, here are tips to help you recover from your holiday indulgences and make healthy changes all year long.
At the beginning of each New Year, we are bombarded with the marketing of diet and exercise products and services. Don’t be fooled by lofty promises of ‘easy & fast weight loss.’ Restrictive fad diets, and extreme exercise might result in weight loss but it will not get you very far. Research shows that extreme programs are unrealistic to maintain for the long term and once you go off of it, you are likely to gain back all the weight you lost, plus more. When we make small, manageable changes to our everyday routines, we are more likely to have long term health success. What healthy changes are realistic for you? If you can incorporate one of these changes at a time, and be patient with reaching your goals, come March, you will still be on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Having support from your loved ones or a community can help make those changes stick!
To say this summer has been “hot” is a huge understatement. From record-setting temps to weeks upon weeks of weather that’s too hot to be out in let alone work out in, it has truly been the dog days of summer. While we’ve shared lots of ways for you to stay cool in the summer heat, do you really know the reasons why heat is so hard on the human body and how it affects darn near every part of us? Read on for a primer on how this heat wave is affecting our bodies!
Heat and Your Skin
When it’s hot out, your body’s skin works to keep you cool. The skin’s first job when hot is circulating blood to the skin, which increases your skin temperature and allows your body to give off some heat. Next is sweating. Sweating helps you cool off, but when the humidity levels are high and your sweat can’t evaporate, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good and can result in heat rash. Additionally, the extra heat can prompt us to wear less clothing, thereby increasing our risk of sunburn.
What to Do About It: Wear loose-fitting clothing, apply sunscreen to all exposed areas and if you’re in a humid climate, try to be near a fan to help your body evaporate that sweat!
“This is a major focus of the marketing for coconut water,” Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab told the Huffington Post. “When you start making claims comparing it to sports drinks, you expect them to at least deliver on what they are promising. People should be aware that the labels are not accurate on some of the products, and they shouldn’t count on coconut water for serious rehydration.”
We’ve all heard the rule that we should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay properly hydrated and healthy. But where did this rule come from? What is the science and research behind the recommendation? Do you need to drink more water if you work out a lot? And what about the foods, like soup and grapefruit, that have a lot of water in them? Do they count towards your daily water-total?
A new commentary in the British Medical Journal, where a doctor called the recommendation to drink six to eight glasses of water a day, “thoroughly debunked nonsense,” is causing many to question what had been considered hydration-law. To clear this whole water-recommendation thing up, we talked with some experts about hydration to get the real deal on how much you really need to drink.
Do I Need to Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day?
Basically, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to optimal hydration, says Dr. Josh Wagner, owner of The Life House on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where he practices chiropractic and sports medicine.
“Eight cups of water per day is the classic recommendation for keeping hydrated, but how could, say, a 105-pound woman need to consume the same amount of water as a 240-pound man?” Dr. Wagner asks. “I usually advise my patients to drink at least half their body weight in ounces of water per day, and to add even more water if they tend to enjoy caffeinated beverages or alcohol or if they have other health concerns, such as diabetes. You’ve heard it before, but water makes up such a large percentage of our bodies and is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle.”
No pain, no gain, right? Well, maybe in certain scenarios, this old motto is false. A runner in training should expect fatigue. They should expect muscle soreness. They should also anticipate that not every run will be a good one. But what about when these truths start piling up? Does the runner need to learn to push through or is it possible that backing off will be the key to their success?
While it might not seem possible, a runner can actually over-train and negatively impact their performance.
Over-training is characterized as not allowing the body to rest and recover from the stress of training. If the body can’t catch up on the much needed repair time, the athlete’s performance will suffer. This is a very serious problem. Over-training has the potential to ruin one’s running career if not taken seriously. If the body gets into a state of over-training, it’s very difficult to recover.