You Docs: Cool it in the heat; drink plenty of water

07/02/2013 6:30 AM

08/08/2014 10:17 AM

Extreme temperatures are ba-a-a-ck! Temperatures in the American Southwest have recently exceeded 110 degrees. But it doesn’t have to get that hot to make you more dehydrated than Ken Venturi at the 1964 U.S. Open. (He was warned by clubhouse doctors not to return to the course on that Sunday afternoon, but he did anyway and won the golf tournament.)

Your body needs a steady supply of water to function. How much? Divide your weight (in pounds) by two. That’s your basic daily need for ounces of water. But if you’re out in the hot sun, the amount can skyrocket. And if you don’t get extra ounces of H2O you can find yourself in serious trouble. Sweat out 2 percent of your stored water, and your ability to exercise or do yardwork can fall by 30 percent to 50 percent. Lose 10 percent to 15 percent, and you risk heatstroke — a potentially life-threatening condition that causes low and high blood pressure and heartbeat irregularities. So, if you work or play in the intense heat, here’s how to stay safe:

• Drink 16 ounces of water before going outside. Then, if you’re sweating heavily, drink 16 to 32 ounces of cool fluids each hour.
• Don’t drink alcohol or sugary beverages; these cause you to lose more fluid.
• Replace lost salts and minerals with bananas, citrus fruits, a multivitamin and electrolyte drinks. We suggest no more than 16 ounces of electrolyte drinks an hour; make the rest water.
• Take regular cool-down breaks in air conditioning. And slather on the sunscreen (SPF 30); a burn amps up the heat risks!

Pedometer power

In 2011, Jon Beeby walked from Long Beach, N.Y., to Los Angeles, taking around 7million steps in 88 days. (That’s figuring about 2,222 steps to a mile for 3,152 miles.) But who’s counting?

Well, we are, and so can you. Get yourself a couple of pedometers, one for a reserve, and one for your waistband or backpack. (Consumer Reports says most pedometers from $5 to $45 have very good or excellent step-count accuracy.) Turns out these step-counting wonders — we use them — are more than passive meters recording what you do. They actually remind you to increase your physical activity, walk more and decrease sitting time; more than three hours a day is a health risk. That’s why Dr. Mike loves his treadmill desk.

Here’s our 12-week walking program. Bet if you put on that pedometer, you’ll walk all over it! If you’re beyond beginner, start with week 3.

Week 1: Walk an extra 10-15 minutes, two times per day, at 50 percent to 60 percent of maximum heart rate (MHR). You’ll need a heart rate monitor as well, if you do not use a treadmill with one built into the handles. (MHR is 220 minus your age.)

Week 2: Walk an extra 20 minutes, two times per day; same heart rate.

Weeks 3-5: Walk an extra 30, 35 or 40 minutes daily at 50 percent to 70 percent of MHR.

Weeks 6-8: Walk an extra 40 or 50 minutes daily at 60 percent to 75 percent of MHR.

Weeks 9-12: Walk an extra 40, 50 or 60 minutes daily at 60 percent to 75 percent of MHR.

Be smart about sugar

“The nature of man is always the same,” said Confucius. “It’s their habits that separate them.” When President Obama quit smoking and actress Jamie Lee Curtis gave up painkillers for probiotics, they proved that you can develop an aversion to substances that once gave you pleasure. But it’s not easy, especially when it comes to added sugars and sugar syrups. So we want to give you the know-how to kick your sweets habit, and prove you’re as smart as a cockroach!

Now, don’t take offense. One type of clever roach has been able to alter its taste receptors so that potentially lethal cockroach traps laced with sugar are now bitter-tasting and repulsive. And it passes that knowledge on to its offspring: “Sugar kills. Avoid it.” And they do.

So, we’d like to pass along the knowledge to you that added sugars and sugar syrups (like high-fructose corn syrup) can kill, and have you and your kids become sugar averse, too.

The facts: Added sugars and sugar syrups cause bodywide inflammation that triggers heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. But the boost of feel-good dopamine you get from sugar is pretty addictive.

The alternatives: Here are healthy habits that increase dopamine levels — substitute them for the sweet stuff: Meditation (10 minutes a day); sex (that’s your call); aerobic exercise (at least 30 minutes most days); acts of generosity (often); and foods loaded with DHA omega-3s, like salmon and ocean trout.

We promise, life will feel a lot sweeter without added sweets.

5 ways to protect your baby from obesity

“SpongeBob SquarePants” may be one of the most-watched TV show among preschoolers, but they’re viewing a lot more than just that (often during day care or when parents tune in adult shows) — around five hours of TV a day. That’s a big contributor to childhood obesity (now hitting 18 percent for kids 6 to 11 in North America). So is the fact that only 16 percent of kids now walk or bike to school (in 1969, 42 percent did) and only 2.1 percent of elementary and 3.8 percent of middle schools have daily physical education classes. All this increases your child’s risk of high LDL cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression, obesity and type 2 diabetes by the time he or she is a teenager.

But moms and dads have a lot of power to reverse that trend with a few simple steps. A new study shows that problems of obesity and diabetes start earlier than preschool — and there are five powerful ways parents can help newborns get started out right:

• Postpone introducing solid food until a child is 6 months old.
• Breastfeed for at least that length of time. (Breastfeeding boosts brain growth in babies.)
• Once they eat solid food, never dish up sodas or fast food.
• Make sure your child sleeps in a room without a TV. Disrupted sleep and sleeping in a lighted room can lead to stress and overeating and trigger all kinds of physical and developmental problems.
• Make sure your infant gets at least 12 hours of peaceful sleep a day.

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