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Hydration and Exercising

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Water is the most essential ingredient to a healthy life. Water has many important functions in the body including:

  • Transportation of nutrients / elimination of waste products.
  • Lubricating joints and tissues.
  • Temperature regulation through sweating.
  • Facilitating digestion.

Importance of Water During Exercise - Proper hydration is especially important during exercise. Adequate fluid intake for athletes is essential to comfort, performance and safety. The longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right kind of fluids.

Dehydration - Athletes need to stay hydrated for optimal performance. Studies have found that a loss of two or more percent of one's body weight due to sweating is linked to a drop in blood volume. When this occurs, the heart works harder to move blood through the bloodstream. This can also cause muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue and even heat illness including Heat Strokeand Heat Exhaustion.

Causes of Dehydration

  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Excessive sweating
  • Failure to replace fluid losses during and after exercise
  • Exercising in dry, hot weather
  • Drinking only when thirsty

Hyponatremia - Water Intoxication - Although rare, recreational exercisers are also at risk of drinking too much water and suffering from hyponatremia or water intoxication. Clearly, drinking the right amount of the right fluids is critical for performance and safety while exercising.

Adequate Fluid Intake for for Athletes - Because there is wide variability in sweat rates, losses and hydration levels of individuals, it is nearly impossible to provide specific recommendations or guidelines about the type or amount of fluids athletes should consume.

Finding the right amount of fluid to drink depends upon a variety of individual factors including the length and intensity of exercise and other individual differences. There are, however, two simple methods of estimating adequate hydration:

  • Monitoring urine volume output and color. A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.
  • Weighing yourself before and after exercise. Any weight lost is likely from fluid, so try to drink enough to replenish those losses. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.

Resting and Recovery Heart Rates

Joseph Coupal - Sunday, June 20, 2010

Figuring out what your resting heart rate (RHR) is -  wake up naturally (without an alarm clock), take your pulse for a full minute before sitting up in bed. Log this number for 3 or 4 days in a row and take the average. This is your resting your heart rate. If you start a new fitness routine, write this number down and do the same exercises for about a month and then measure your RHR. You will more than likely see a significant drop in your RHR. This drop in RHR means that your body is now running more efficiently!  Note, If you are already reasonably fit, your resting heart rate may not change too much over time. It can only go so low!!

Recovery Heart Rate - The more fit and efficient your body becomes, the more quickly you will be able to recover from an intense effort. Here is an way to measure that so you can keep track of your progress: During your workout, increase the intensity until your breathing becomes labored and talking is difficult. Keep this intensity for about 2 minutes and then log your heart rate. Now reduce the intensity to an extremely slow pace - almost to the point where you are barely moving. Take your heart rate after one minute at this pace. The more the heart rate count drops, the better shape you are in.

Eating Smart is a good read

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 14, 2010

Joy Bauer: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Smart

In this age of food obsession and the infinite fad diets that generate questionable results, you owe it to yourself to learn about basic nutrition. This book, out of all the nutrition and exercise books available, is an inexpensive and comprehensive reference for healthful eating and staying fit. Tables and easy reference tell you about such things as macronutrients and fiber, and guide you to sports nutrition, weight management, and specialties like eating while pregnant and feeding the kids. This is good book to get a fundamental understanding of eating smart. 

Interval Training Basics

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 10, 2010

Interval Training Basics

Do you do the same cardio routine every day?  Whether it is a treadmill, elliptical, stair master, bike or just going for a walk?   If so consider that if your brain is bored with your cardiovascular routine, then your body has been bored for quite some time. Meaning you are getting diminishing returns from your your exercise routine.

Try playing some games when exercising. For example, pick a 30 minute TV show that you want to watch. Set your elliptical (or treadmill, bike etc) to a speed and resistance that is comfortable for you. Not super easy, but comfortable enough for you to hold a full conversation. Keep up that pace during the actual show, so you can enjoy it ... BUT during the commercials, increase the intensity to a level at which you can barely speak. In.

you can do a similar thing if you are listening to your mp3 or ipod.  Set it to shuffle and adjust your speed according to the tempo of the song. Some days may be a little easier, but some may feel really challenging! It will keep your mind and your muscles guessing and help keep you stay out of a exercise rut.

Lastly, if you are walking, cycling or running outside, pick a landmark that you can see in the distance and increase your speed until you reach it. Before you know it, you will have traveled 3 times as far as you normally do before getting bored.

Put simply, more calories are typically burned during interval training than in lower-intensity exercise because it allows your body to work harder for a longer period of time than if you were training continuously. Therefore, noticeable fitness results may be seen sooner for someone doing interval training than in someone who consistently does the same routine.

Stretching and Staying Flexible

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Stretching and Staying Flexible

Bend, Stretch, and flex! Weight training helps maintain or can even improve your flexibility and range of motion if the proper form is used and you stretch before, during or after your workout. Just remember during strength training exercises to fully extend and retract throughout the motion. In other words. Use full range of motion in all of your weight training exercises.

Lastly, you can never stretch enough so feel free to stretch in the middle of your exercise sets.  Most people do a pre- or post-workout stretch.  You can do both if you would like.


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