Are midlife exercisers safe to exercise in the heat? Is it enough to simply stay hydrated? What are the dangers (and solutions) for active boomers who face high temperatures and humidity? Are you thinking yet of the Poindexter song, “Hot, Hot, Hot?”
Summer is here. We can all go outside and run (or walk, in our case). In the heat. And possibly where the humidity is high enough to make your body look like it’s crying. But wait, we’re not saying avoid outdoor exercise. Say nay to that. We want to encourage you to go outside and be active. Of course we always support going inside to group fitness classes, especially when the room has AC! But stay hydrated.Are midlife exercisers safe to exercise in the heat? Click To Tweet
Often we’ll put sunblock on, then a hat and head outside (Head. Hat. Get it?), but leave behind a water bottle because we won’t be gone long, or it’s a hassle to carry, or or or. Be well-prepared especially if you aren’t well-hydrated. We won’t lecture you (but we’d like to) if you don’t take along your water bottle, but we WILL share some definitions and information. Then you can know when you’re in harm’s way or safe to beat the heat.
Euhydration – normal hydration. Your body is taking in the same amount of fluid as it’s expending. In a hot environment, that’s about 3500 milliliters (compared to 2500 on a normal day).
Hypohydration – a reduction of body water as the body progresses from a euhydrated to a dehydrated state.
Dehydration – when water losses due to sweat are not offset by water intake. Read Water: Chilled, Stirred or Straight from the Pool Post-Exercise? if you wonder whether to drink cold or tepid water:
Hyponatremia – abnormally low plasma sodium concentrations. When more fluids are consumed than are lost, excess water accumulates relative to sodium. Danger, danger.When exercising in heat, is it better to drink a lot at once, or go w/ lots of sips spread over… Click To Tweet
Exertional Heat Exhaustion – the body’s heat production exceeds its ability to dissipate heat, and core temperature rises to >104°. Symptoms can include excessive sweating, nausea, dizziness, and headache.
Exertional Heatstroke – more severe than heat exhaustion. In addition to the above symptoms, heatstroke sufferers can also experience a gradual impairment of consciousness, difficulty concentrating, sweat-soaked, pale skin (these symptoms are different from classic heatstroke), and even death.
* Rather than taking sips of water over the course of your outdoor exercise, drink a larger volume all at once. You’ll stay in euhydration longer.
* If you exercise longer than 90 minutes, rehydrate with water that has electrolytes added (primarily sodium and potassium, though some sodium is reabsorbed by the sweat glands – the body sure is amazing, eh)?
* Drink water before, during AND after exercise – yes, all three.
As to whether it’s better to drink cold or room temperature water, the research clearly indicates that … it doesn’t really matter. The temperature that’s most effective is … the one that will induce you to drink more water.
If you find water boring, that’s no excuse to go buy sugar-laden drinks or skip the water bottle. Simple throw in a sprig of mint or rosemary, or a wedge or orange, lemon or lime, and off you go. Up hill. Down dale.
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by Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Snip, snap, I bit their heads off! Someone just earned a spot on the Naughty list and it wasn’t either of them. Normally I am cheerful and fairly even tempered (hush up Alexandra!) and consider it a Christmas gift to send my daughter to sleep by scratching her back and petting her hair. And I appreciate my husband tackling chores to make us more comfy in our new house.
So what was going on that sent me over the edge? Blaming menopause seemed like a convenient idea, but I knew it was not accurate. Fortunately I had enough self-awareness to realize something was unusual beyond fatigue. Have you ever been uncharacteristically moody without knowing quite why?
Turns out I had entered a liquidy perfect storm. Caffeine was largely to blame. However I don’t drink coffee or sodas, so the caffeine answer was not obvious at first. But many of you might be coffee drinkers. Or soft drink imbibers. In fact, if you drink more than 3-4 cups a day or are particularly sensitive to caffeine then you may also turn into a Grinch.
Here’s the gig: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, with one of its effects being to increase irritability. Other effects (courtesy of the Mayo Clinic) include:
Did you know all that? I had not really paid attention to caffeine’s downsides as I rarely intake any. But I had developed a new habit, now broken. Since visiting Thailand in March with my mom and sister, I had come home with a new appreciation for Thai Iced Teas. (Read about our leech hike escapades in Thailand, how we sweat a lot in Thailand, and tips on what to pack when it’s 100 degrees out). At $3.50 to $4.00 per drink at the local Thai Donut and Bagel store (doesn’t everyone have a place like this nearby?), I had limited my indulgence to once a week. Until……. I discovered last week that the local Japanese specialty item shop sold Thai tea mix bags, ready to brew! Whoo hoo! Guess what? A $5.00 bag with the artificial yellowy-orange coloring already in it yields cup after delicious cup. For pennies per swig! Just boil water, add sugar and milk, and string me up like Christmas lights!
You see where this warning about caffeine is going. I went from one expensive cup per week of black tea cleverly disguised at Thai Iced Tea to three frugal and full cups in one day. The day I gave the gift of instant snapback to my family. But like George Clooney in Perfect Storm, I was headed into more troubled waters. Or lack of, as it turns out. Because now this liquid tale gets updated news relevant to all of us, whether we exercise or not; whether we take in caffeine or not.
ALERT! Dehydration makes people IRRITABLE! CRANKY! WITCH ON WATERWHEELS! (women more than men, wouldn’t you know it).
Even mild dehydration can change your mood, ability to think straight, and energy level, according to two studies just conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory. Sure, we all know that too little water can cause headaches, fatigue, and yellow pee. But the bad mood angle is kinda new. Or at least it was to me.
Normally I have one water bottle in my car, one in my gym bag, another in the refrigerator, and one in the freezer. But the past few days, my schedule has been almost as out of whack as my mood, what with my daughter coming home, my husband on teaching break, and my sister out of town. I was running late wherever I went so kept neglecting to grab water.
We lose about a liter per day of water just through normal respiration. Add in walking dogs, teaching step class, sweating a lot, and installing flooring (just as a random example), and the need to replenish water becomes more critical. Yes, I had just ordered a double expressed dose of “frothy a lotte” at the mouth — too much caffeine and too little water.
You can avoid taking my journey and stay on the “Nice” list. If you find the holiday season challenges your normally calm, loving, low-stress mood, then keep caffeine down and water up! Say good-bye to unusually high levels of cranky-puss and drink a lot this season. Watery, decaf drinks. Take it from me, Or else!
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Disclosure: We were each given a filter from Aquasana. All opinions in the following story and review are our own. Or each other’s. Or a function of twin telepathy.
I chose the Aquasana 3-Stage Under Counter Water Filter because I was sick and tired of the mineral build-up that was getting into my tea. I love hot tea and chai (and even decaf coffee). I also love my tea kettle so much that I have taken the effort for years to scrape out the minerals that coat the inside of it. But I have always hated the little floaties that somehow managed to slip into my tea mug. Anyone who’s ever eaten with me knows that I abhor “bits.” I’ve taken a lot of teasing about it, but I just stick my fingers in my ears and avoid pomegranates and seeded grapes.
I didn’t expect a change in taste or feel from the water once my new filter was installed; I just wanted to be rid of the minerals. So I felt like it was Bonus Day at the Alexandra Ranch because the filtered water feels soft on my tongue (didn’t know water had “feelings, nothing more than feelings.”
It was super easy to install, especially as I didn’t actually do any of the work (houseful of guys has its advantages)! I only wish the spigot were a bit wider, as the water comes out fairly slowly. But I’m turning into a patient person, because I am just so dang happy to have filtered, SMOOTH water that is bit-free.
Kymberly: While we live up a mountain, we have an ocean view (I know; don’t hate us because we’re in a beautiful place). As of two weeks ago I have a view of the Pacific Ocean. My hubster and I (finally!) moved into the house we have been building for the past eight and a half years. So long tiny, “temporary” cabin; hello new shower, new bathtub, new experience when washing off the sweat from my body after teaching group exercise classes.
Therefore when Aquasana offered me the option to test their shower filter, I asked the tile contractor to slap that grout on a little faster and finish the tub surround as I was eager to get sprinkled on in style. Installing the filter took the hubster exactly three minutes. He could have done it in one but I kept trying to read the directions to him. No tools required.
One key point in the Aquasana instructions is to expect initial spurts and squirts of dark minerals. Hot tip – take them at their word. Stand out of the way unless you want dark stuff in your hair. Guess I should follow the directions if I’m going to take the trouble to read them.
Speaking of hair, the main benefit to the shower filter is what it does for my hair. It is noticeably softer in our new, sparkly, filtered shower than it was at the cabin. Same well source; different locks (anyone else get that word play? I am cracking myself up). Many midlife women report that their hair gets more brittle with age. Certainly I am dealing with more split ends with each passing birthday, However, I can honestly and fervently say that my hair feels as though it’s been deep conditioned given the filtered water. “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?” Why, ‘tis the sun glinting off my soft hair as I enjoy my new house and free shower filter!
And there you have just another way to tell Alexandra and me apart. She quotes a schmaltzy song while I trippingly drop Shakespeare quotes from my quenched lips.
Aquasana is giving away a water filter to one of you!! The winner can choose either the Over Counter, Under Counter or Shower Filter. We’ll randomly choose one winner for one of three Aquasana Water Filters. Winner must have a United States mailing address. We will notify the winner via email or social media. If the winner doesn’t claim the prize within 48 hours, we will randomly draw a new winner. The giveaway begins right now and ends at midnight November 15. Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
By the way, if you want to know More More More about water’s effects on you, click on our post, Water: What Is It Good For and Water: Chilled or Straight From the Pool Post-Exercise.
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During my recent trip to Cologne with the Modenus BlogTour, I experienced water from a variety of perspectives.
On the very first night of BlogTour, we were invited by BLANCO to a private dinner at the German Sports and Olympic Museum. For a good description with great pictures, read this post by Tina Ramchandani. I mention the dinner for several reasons: 1) it set the tone for how we were treated throughout the entire event, 2) the water at meals in Europe usually comes in glass bottles, and 3) wine has water in it!
Water Comes Out (of the Faucet)
On the morning after the welcome dinner, we headed to the BLANCO booth at The Living Kitchen inside IMM Cologne: The International Furnishing Show to learn about faucets, sinks and water systems. The sign at the booth had a waterfall, which I hope you can see in this picture. In any case, BLANCO had two items in particular that I fell in love with. The first was a hot water system that puts out boiling water instantly. As they say on their site, “nothing works in the kitchen without water,” and if you want steaming tea or coffee water immediately, you can get it. Cooking, preparing, heating, washing – Boom, boiling water that’s 97 celsius. Don’t ask me what that is in Fahrenheit – heck, we were in Europe, so we got European measurements – all I know is that the days of running water wastefully down the drain while it heats up (or in my case, filling the pets’ drinking bowl repeatedly) are over. Well, those days are over in 2014, which is when this system might be available in the U.S. But I can wait – my kitchen will still be around next year!
My favorite BLANCO product was the SAGA tap. I immediately thought of my mom, who is a young person in an elderly body. She has arthritis in her hands and wrists, and her grip strength isn’t that great. This faucet is ideal for people like her who have limited mobility, dexterity, vision or grip strength. Instead of having to reach for a lever, or twist one (or even two) handles, you just slide the sleeve that’s right by the spout. Super simple to use: slide forward or back to control water volume, and gently turn left or right to set the water temperature. With 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day for the next decade, products that “speak” to aging joints will be mandatory. When I saw this faucet, I immediately thought of the increased independence this design offers.
Water Goes In (To the Skin and Body)
One of the sponsors of BlogTour was Mr. Steam, makers of steam showers and towel warmers. They sent us to the Claudius Therme Spa, known for its healing thermal mineral waters. For a lively recap of the visit to the spa, read this post by Paul Anater.
According to their site, the heated water “aids rheumatic complaints and diseases of the intervertebral discs or joints, has a positive effect on hypertension, circulatory problems and disorders caused by stress, and activates enzymes and and stabilizes bone structure.”
On the Mr. Steam site you can find a list of 44 benefits of steam therapy, which add to the list above. Below are just a few:
* Cleanses, lubricates and hydrates the skin
* Removes toxins from the body
* Increases circulation
* Helps the body rid itself of excess sodium
* May relieve pain and discomfort from arthritis
* Rids the body of metabolic and other waste products
* Promotes deep, restful sleep
* Helps reinvigorate tired muscles
* Increases muscular flexibility
And of course, #44 is my favorite because it’s so specific:
* Adds humidity to your orchids (I don’t have orchids, but my dry legs like humidity!)
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the spa (possibly due to the naked people wandering about the sauna area), but I will tell you that we sat inside a very steamy hot tub in the middle of a pool that had a current so you could float or swim while circling the hot tub. The photo above shows how it looked. It was heavenly. Yay! Now I’m back home with bronchitis and wishing for a steam shower. Boo! But we were allowed to take pictures of the group eating dinner at the spa. Yes, we really are eating a formal dinner while dressed in robes!
Speaking of steam, you might like to know what I thought of the Miele steam oven once I saw it in person. After eating a lot of food made in the steam oven at the convention, my advice is “Run to the store and buy one right now!” I even tweeted about my plan to toss my micro in place of the steam oven, and I encourage you to do the same if you want super delicious, nutritious food.
Going to IMM Cologne really taught me new ways of viewing my life and home, and how truly good design can help improve both. When my home is healthy, I’m happy, and when I’m healthy, my home is a happy place.
Oh, while we’re on the subject of water, if you’re a boomer you’ll get the song reference in this post’s title. This video should help. But change the answer to “Absolutely Something”[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01-2pNCZiNk[/youtube]
Want to water your own face with tears of joy? First, take a look at our post on what water temperature is best for exercisers. Then please subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter:AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above. We’ll cry happiness tears too!
Disclaimer: I was not paid to share my opinions about the products I liked at IMM Cologne. I am, however, very grateful to all the sponsors.
Alexandra: Who cares? Water is boring. The only people who should be drinking water are kids in highly chlorinated pools – big gulps – just to make their parents crazy. —beep beep beep important interruption—– I myself drink water. But after 20-some years of teaching exercise, I have not found that the temperature perks up the flavor any, now does it? But since I am a consummate professional (I think that means I am a French clear soup), I definitely recommend water. It’s so much cheaper than flavored water. Fewer calories too. And you pee or sweat it out anyway, so why invest your hard-earned money and “individual plastic bottle” guilt? Me, I care more about the non-plastic, recyclable water bottle that your water comes in than the temp.
Kymberly: Yes, drinking water is super deluxe important for all people, especially active ones. Read our post on water’s benefits and how it acts to help keep you youthful. No, the temp does not matter, unless it matters to you. My work here is done. Oh, except to say that it’s also good to avoid sugary water drinks whether hot, cold, or in between.
Alexandra: If you are working out hard enough to want water, you won’t care about the water temperature anyway. You’ll be happy to grab whatever is closest and easiest. Am I right or what? However, do you prefer cold water? If so, then you will drink more, get rehydrated sooner and be an all-around healthier, good, popular person.
Okay, technically speaking, cold water is absorbed by the body faster than room temp water, according to some research. However in a 2007 position statement by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on water temperature, ACSM mostly just wants you to drink enough water to stay hydrated and avoid renal failure, dehydration, mental & cognitive performance decreases, exercise-induced hyponatremia, rhabdomyolysis or other grave illnesses, such as death. I only said all that stuff to distract you and make you think I read the research, but all I managed to do was scare myself. Gotta go. A jug of cold water is calling me, followed by a jug of room temp water. Maybe then I’ll be able to pronounce “rabbit – my – old – sis” or whatever that last illness is.
Dear waterlogged and dehydrated readers alike: Do you like water? Do you have a preferred temperature? Can you pronounce “rhabdomyolysis”?
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA