Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hot weather exercise: How to keep cool

How hot weather affects your body

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your heart and lungs. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your body temperature. To dissipate heat, more blood circulates through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which increases your heart rate. If the humidity is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin - which only pushes your body temperature higher.

Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you're exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long. The result may be a heat-related illness, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

How to avoid heat-related illnesses

To keep it cool during hot-weather exercise, keep these basic precautions in mind:

  • Take it slow. If you're used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Your body's ability to sweat and cool down depends on adequate rehydration. Drink plenty of water while you're working out - even if you don't feel thirsty. If you're planning to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider sports drinks instead. These drinks can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, which actually promote fluid loss.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing promotes sweat evaporation and cooling by letting more air pass over your body. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb the heat. A light-colored hat can limit your exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening - when it's likely to be cooler outdoors - rather than the middle of the day. If possible, exercise in the shade or in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body's ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you're concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.

Know when to call it quits

During hot-weather exercise, be on the lookout for heat-related illness. Signs and symptoms may include:
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you suspect a heat-related illness, stop exercising and get out of the heat. Drink water, and wet and fan your skin. If you don't feel better within 60 minutes, contact your doctor. If you develop a fever higher than 102 F
(38.9 C) or become faint or confused, seek immediate medical help.

Regular physical activity is important - but don't let hot-weather workouts put your health at risk.

by Mayo Clinic staff

Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow, is inflammation, soreness, or pain on the outside (lateral) side of the upper arm near the elbow.

There may be a partial tear of the tendon fibers, which connect muscle to bone.
The tear may be at or near where these fibers begin, on the outside of the elbow.

Causes & Symptoms

When you use these muscles over and over again, small tears develop in the tendon. Over time, this leads to irritation and pain where the tendon is attached to the bone.

This injury is common in people who play a lot of tennis or other racquet sports, hence the name "tennis elbow." Backhand is the most common stroke to cause symptoms.

However, any activity that involves repetitive twisting of the wrist (like using a screwdriver) can lead to this condition. Therefore, painters, plumbers, construction workers, cooks, and butchers are all more likely to develop tennis elbow.

This condition may also be due to constant computer keyboard and mouse use.

Signs and Tests

The diagnosis is made based on signs and symptoms, because x-rays are usually normal. Often there will be pain or tenderness when the tendon is gently pressed near where it attaches to the upper arm bone, over the outside of the elbow.

There is also pain near the elbow when the wrist is extended (bent backwards, like revving a motorcycle engine) against resistance.

X-rays are rarely needed.

Calling your health care provider

Apply home treatment (over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and keeping the elbow still) if:
  • Symptoms are mild
  • You have had this disorder before and you are sure you have tennis elbow
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
  • This is the first time you have had these symptoms
  • Home treatment does not relieve the symptoms


To help prevent tennis elbow:
  • Apply an ice pack to the outside of the elbow
  • Maintain good strength and flexibility in the arm muscles and avoid repetitive motions
  • Rest the elbow when bending and straightening are painful


1. Regan WD, Grondin PP, Morrey BF. Elbow and forearm. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr., Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2009:chap 19.

2. Schmidt MJ, Adams SL. Tendinopathy and bursitis. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 115.

Muscle of the Week:

Wrist Extensors

Other Names
  • Forearm (outer or back)
  • Hand Extensors
  1. Extensor Digitorum
  2. Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus
  3. Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis
  4. Extensor Carpi Ulnaris
  5. Extensor Indicis
  6. Extensor Digiti Minimi
  7. Extensor Pollicis Longus
  8. Extensor Pollicis Brevis
Radial Deviation

  • Grasp half loaded dumbbell with plate on thumb side. Position arm down to side.
  • Bend wrist so weighted side is pulled upward. Lower until weighted side is pointing downward. Repeat.
If half loaded dumbbell is not available, one of two substitutes can be used.
  • Empty metal bar: to increase resistance grasp further away from center with longer end on thumb side.
  • Standard dumbbell: grasp so pinkie side is against inside of weight plate.

Wrist Rollers

  • Stand behind weight plate(s) on floor and grasp wrist roller handle with both hands; over hand grip.
  • With left hand gripping handle, relax grip of right hand and slide grip in front of handle (by flexing wrist) and regrip. Relax grip of left hand and hyperextend right wrist. Repeat sequence with opposite hands, alternating back and forth until weight plate has raised up near hands. Lower weight steadily with opposite movement.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When Parents Work Out, Kids Stay Slim

No mom wants to see her kid's bare-bellied flab making its TV debut on "The Biggest Loser." But before you head to the gym for Mommy/Baby Zumba, consider a new study that finds it's only the parents who need to muscle up and keep their hands out of the cookie jar.

Despite your best intentions to get your kid to crave carrots and perform happy baby poses in utero, it turns out that when healthy eating and exercise is taught to parents only, their kids shed about the same amount of poundage as if you'd hauled them to exercise classes, too, according to the study published in the journal Obesity.

"Our results showed that the parent-only group was not inferior in terms of child weight loss, parent weight loss and child physical activity," says study author Kerri Boutelle, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, in a release.

Though current fat camp-esque childhood obesity programs call
for parent/kid participation, researchers found that parents are the biggest influences on flabby kids, and that it's the healthy behaviors of moms and dads that could have the largest impact in changing recent data that suggests 31 percent of children in the United States are overweight or obese. That adds up to 4 to 5 million kids, the release says.

"Parents are the most significant people in a child's environment, serving as the first and most important teachers," Boutelle says in the release. "Since they play a significant role in any weight-loss program for children, we wondered if the same results could be achieved by working with just the parents, without the child coming to the clinic."

The study involved 80 families with overweight or obese children
aged 8 to 12, according to the release. Half of the families entered a five-month education program with kids in tow, while the other 40 families attended parents-only classes. At the beginning and end of the five-month term, and at a follow-up six months later, researchers measured both parents' and children's body size as well as the kids' daily caloric intake and physical activity.

In every measure aside from caloric intake, the families in the parent-only group showed as much improvement as those getting parent-and-child education, according to the release.

Muscle of the Week:

3 Moves that target your CALVES


1) Stand with weights in hands.

2) Feet placed shoulder distance apart.

3) Raise up on balls of feet.

4) Return to start position and repeat.


1) Hold weights in hands.

2) Stand with involved leg up on step.

3) Shift weight over knee.

4) Step up slowly.

5) Step down backwards, leading with involved leg.

6) Repeat.


1) Sit at calf strengthening machine, feet flat on floor.

2) Place pad on top of knees.

3) Lift heels off of floor.

4) Return to start position and repeat.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Keep an Exercise Journal

The best way to track your progress is to write every exercise, set, rep, type and duration of cardio, and the date. Your exercise journal can be anything from a notepad, to a piece of computer paper, to a chart you made on the computer.

The key here is to be consistent with writing down your workouts and making sure you aren't taking steps backwards. By keeping a journal you have something can go back in time and see exactly how you have been progressing over the past couple weeks, months, and even years.

Another great advantage of keeping an exercise journal is if and when you get to a sticking point you can look back in your journal and see what you did the last time to get you out of that plateau.

The people who don't keep a journal never know exactly how they are progressing because they have no way of measuring what they accomplished in the past. By writing everything down you can go back to the week before and make sure you aren't using a weight that is less than the week before or that you didn't cut yourself short on a piece of cardio equipment.

The time spent writing everything in the journal during your workouts (which takes no time at all since most people write things in the journal while resting between sets) is well worth the knowledge and progression you will see down the road.

Fact or Fiction
MYTH: You need to eat a lot of protein to gain muscle.

FACT: Your body can only metabolize about 25g of protein per meal/ snack so higher intakes do not offer any further benefit with regards to muscle strength gains and repair. Your best bet is to eat protein-rich foods and/or powders often (four to five times throughout the day) to ensure that you are maximizing your training efforts, supporting your immune system and aiding your body's fat-burning potential.

Question of the Week:

Q: When is the best time to exercise? I have heard that if you are overweight you
should exercise after you eat, and if you are at the weight you want, you should exercise before you eat. Does it matter? And, if it does, why and how?

A: Like many of the factors attendant to exercise, a
considerable amount of misinformation and
mythhology exists concerning the question "when is the best time to exercise"?

For example, for several years, a number of individuals
have erroneously believed that exercising in the morning subjects a person to a heightened risk of a coronary episode. Such a risk is purported to emanate from the fact that most fatal heart attacks occur between 6 a.m. and noon. This is because blood platelets, which are responsible for the formation of blood clots, are stickiest in the morning.

Exercise, however, doesn't make matters worse. In fact, individuals who exercise regularly have a reduced risk of heart attack at any time of the day.

With regard to the specific issue of the alleged relationship between the time of exercising and weight control efforts, no such relationship exists. If you exercise at a particular level of intensity, you'll "burn" the same number of calories regardless of when you exercise.

All factors considered, it may be somewhat more difficult for a person to exercise after a meal, because the amount of blood involved in the digestive process diminishes the level of oxygen-carrying blood servicing the exercise muscles.

The impact of such a factor would depend upon how much the person ate, how soon the individual exercised after eating, and how hard the person exercised.

In reality, the answer to the question of "when is the best time to exercise" is fairly straightforward - whatever works best for you is the best time.

Bryant, Cedric


"Success is about having, excellence is about being. Success is about having money and fame, but excellence is being the best you can be."

- Mike Ditka

Thursday, March 3, 2011

R.I.C.E for Sprains and Strains?

Strains and sprains can be treated at home by following a simple plan called RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.


If you strain or sprain your knee, stop or reduce your activity level for a day or two. Depending on the severity of the pain, your doctor may also suggest that you avoid putting any weight on the specific body part for up to two days. If needed, crutches or a cane can keep you moving.

"The amount of time you rest varies," says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. "We recommend and promote rest as part of RICE therapy for as long as you have to in order to get the swelling reduced and the pain to an 'ooooh' rather than an 'ouch.' Rest at least a week, but most muscle strains or sprains are micro-tears of the tissue, and that takes at least three weeks to heal. Don't exercise or do the activity that caused the pain in the first place."

William Bargar, MD, director of the Joint Replacement Center at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., and spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, points out that rest can be a double-edged sword. "If you don't use your joints, they get quite stiff. Sometimes they get worse if you use them. I say to use your symptoms of pain asa guide.If, when you do a certain activity, you have significant discomfort or more pain later in the day after doing it on a repetitive basis, you need to cut it out for a while until the pain goes away."


Use a bag of ice or cold pack on the injured body part four to eight times per day for 20 minutes each time. Don't hold it on there longer than 20 minutes because it can cause frostbite. To be careful and more comfortable, surround the ice pack with a towel to avoid freezing the skin.

"Usually, I tell patients to use ice after the activity that caused the pain but also to use heat before an activity," Dr. Bargar says. "A little warm-up is helpful, and heat to the joint or a hot shower or tub will help loosen you up, helping to avoid an injury or create pain."


In an effort to reduce the swelling that's causing your joint pain, use a compression bandage. These include either elastic-type wraps, such as an Ace bandage, air casts, special boots, or splints. Check with your health care provider on which one to use and how tight it should be.


Another way to help reduce the swelling is to elevate your leg on a pillow above the level of your heart. "Just do this for the first day or so to help control the swelling, but no longer," Gotlin says.

Muscle of the Week:
3 Moves that target your TRICEPS

1) Sit on a bench or chair
2) Begin with the hands next to or slightly under the hips.
3) Lift up onto the hands and bring the hips forward.
4) Bend the elbows (no lower than 90 degrees) and lower the hips down, keeping them very close to the chair. Keep the shoulders down.
5) Push back up without locking the elbows and repeat for 10-16 reps.

1) Lie on the floor or a bench and hold a light-medium barbell with the hands close together, about shoulder-width apart.
2) Extend the arms straight up over the chest, palms face out and thumbs wrapped around so that they're next to the fingers.
3) Bend the elbows and lower the the weight down to a few inches above the forehead or until the elbows at about 90-degree angles.
4) Squeeze the triceps to straight the arms without locking the joints.
5) Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.

1) Kneel in front of the ball and roll forward until the ball is under the mid-upper
thighs (the further out you are, the harder this move is).
2) Place the hands shoulder-width apart and place them just below the chest.
3) Bend the elbows and keep them close to the body and facing the back of the room as you lower down into a pushup in a see-saw motion (i.e., don't bend at the hips)
4) Push back to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.