Stay Safe During Hot Weather Exercise

If you are a regular reader of these blogs you know that I definitely advocate exercising on a regular basis, but when the summer months turn really hot and humid, you need to be careful to avoid heat related illnesses like heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Whether you’re running, playing tennis, working in your yard or garden, or going for a power walk, please be careful when the temperature rises.

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature.

To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even 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, you sweat heavily, and you don’t drink enough fluids.

The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:

  • Heat cramps.Heat cramps, sometimes called exercise-associated muscle cramps, are painful muscle contractions that can occur with exercise. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. You may feel muscle pain or spasms. Your body temperature may be normal.
  • Heat syncope and exercise-associated collapseHeat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time or standing quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is feeling lightheaded or fainting immediately after exercising, and it can occur especially if you immediately stop running and stand still after a race or a long run.
  • Heat exhaustion.With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104° F, and you may experience nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, fainting, sweating and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104° F. Your skin may be dry from lack of sweat, or it may be moist.

You may develop confusion, irritability, headache, heart rhythm problems, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, visual problems and fatigue. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.

During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. If you ignore these symptoms, your condition can worsen, resulting in a medical emergency.

WARNING SIGNS:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Visual problems

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition.

Measuring core body temperature with a rectal thermometer is essential to accurately determine the degree of heat injury. An oral, ear or forehead thermometer doesn’t provide an accurate temperature reading for this purpose. In cases of heatstroke, due to confusion and mental status changes, you won’t be able to treat yourself and you’ll require emergency medical care. The most effective way of rapid cooling is immersion of your body in a cold- or ice-water tub.

In cases of heat exhaustion, remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Make sure you are around people who can help you and assist in your care. If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water.

You may place cool, wet towels or ice packs on your neck, forehead and under your arms, spray yourself with water from a hose or shower, or sit in a tub filled with cold water. Drink fluids such as water or a sports drink. If you don’t feel better within about 20 minutes, seek emergency medical care.

IF YOU HAVE SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE- SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT RIGHT AWAY

If your core temperature is less than 104° F, but it doesn’t come down quickly, you’ll also need urgent medical attention. In some cases, you may need fluids through intravenous (IV) tubes if you’re not able to drink fluids, or not able to drink enough fluids.

Get cleared by your doctor before you return to exercise if you’ve had heatstroke. Your doctor will likely recommend that you wait to return to exercise or sports until you’re not experiencing symptoms. If you’ve had a heatstroke, you may require many weeks before you are able to exercise at a high level. Once your doctor clears you for exercise, you may begin to exercise for short periods of time and gradually exercise for longer periods as you adjust to the heat.

When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Watch the temperature.Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the duration of your planned outdoor activity. In running events, there are “flag” warnings that correspond to the degree of heat and humidity. For example, a yellow flag requires careful monitoring, and races are canceled in black flag conditions.
  • Get acclimated.If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat. It can take at least one to two weeks to adapt to the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over time, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level.If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well-hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids. If you plan to exercise intensely, consider a sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid alcoholic drinks because they can actually promote fluid loss.
  • Dress appropriately.Lightweight, loose fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun.Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas, or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen.A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself and increases the risk of skin cancer.
  • 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.
  • Understand your medical risks.Certain medical conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat-related illness. If you plan to exercise in the heat, talk to your doctor about precautions.
  • Choose and alternative form of exercise. If you are a runner – maybe try cycling as you create your own cooling effect by moving air over your body – or maybe give swimming a go – but beware of swimming laps in a hot (> 84° F) pool – as you can quickly overheat swimming in water that warm.

I do recommend that you continue to exercise on a regular basis even through this hot month of August, just be smart about it by following these recommendations.

If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at:  drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

Do This and Live Longer!

When asked how long do you want to live, the answer should include not only a number but a statement on quality of life.  So how do we live longer with quality?  New data is being published monthly confirming that longevity is 25% genetic and 75% lifestyle.  Here’s a fact.  Sitting is killing us.  Computers were supposed to give us more leisure time, but instead we as a society are sitting more and spending more time at work and home in front of a computer.  Standing desks are becoming popular, but in my opinion only a little better than sitting.  We are meant to move.  Life is motion. Standing in 1 place for hours at a time is not much better than sitting for hours at a time.  I am more a fan of shaking it up. Sit for 20-30 minutes, get up and move/stretch, then stand for 20-30 minutes and then move/stretch again.

By now most everyone has heard the latest mantra, ”sitting is the new smoking”.  The good news is that there is now an antidote for sitting.  Its call exercise!  That’s right.  A new study, published in Lancet in September 2016 looked at the effects of mortality of people who sit 8 hours a day.  The bottom line, after looking at one million people, following them from 2-18 years, it take 1 hour of moderate exercise to negate 8 hours of sitting as it relates to mortality.  To quote the authors:  “High levels of moderate intensity physical activity (ie, about 60–75 min per day) seem to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time.”

Do you run? Maybe you should.  A new study in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease from March 2017, concluded, “runners have a 25%-40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners”.  It doesn’t matter if you run slowly or sporadically and smoke, drink or are overweight. This study compared running to other exercises, including cycling and swimming, and no other exercise was comparable running for the impact on life span.

What’s the best type of exercise? Another new study from Cell Metabolism, March 2017, compared exercise types in 2 different age groups; younger than 30 and older than 64. They were broken into 4 groups: 1) vigorous weight lifting only; 2) high intensity interval training; 3) moderate biking for 30 minute alternating days with light weight lifting; 4) and of course a control group.

Of course all of the 3 groups who exercised showed improvement in fitness and blood regulation.  What they didn’t expect was how on a cellular level, the mitochondria of the High Intensity Interval Training group improved their ability to generate energy. Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells. Not only did the Mitochondria generate more energy, they were more of them and they were healthier than in every other group.  This benefit was larger in the greater than 64 age group.  The authors conclude that older people’s cells respond best to robust exercise.

What is the take away?  If you sit, you need to exercise to live a long healthy life.  If you have a full time job that requires sitting, you need to exercise 1 hour a day to negate the potentially detrimental effects of sitting on your body.  Running prolongs life, up to 3 years that of none-runners!  Any exercise is better than no exercise.  High Intensity Interval Training helps you energy cells work better and should be part of your exercise regime.  So the answer to the headline is to EXERCISE.  Exercise is the key factor to living longer and healthier!

Spring has finally sprung!  Now’s a great time to start exercising!  Start slow and build up your endurance and strength.  If you need advice on how to get started or if your body is physically fit to exercise, give us a call at 508-655-9008, or email me at: drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.comNaticN

Strengthen Your Brain With Exercise

Regular Exercise can strengthen your brain.  We all know regular exercise is great for our cardiovascular system, and that it will strengthen our muscles and even increase our bone density, but a lesser known benefit is that regular exercise can make you smarter and protect your brain from shrinkage as it ages.

Research has even revealed that exercise can increase neurogenesis, or the formation of new brain cells, in the brain’s hippocampus.

Research has time and time again shown that people who engage in healthy behaviors such as exercise and proper nutrition are less susceptible to the cognitive declines associated with the aging process.

One study published in 2013 looked at healthy behaviors in nearly 2,300 men over the course of thirty years. Researchers looked at the participants’ behaviors and cognitive abilities starting in middle age tracked their progress throughout old age.

The researchers found that men who practiced certain healthy behaviors were around 60 percent less likely to experience cognitive impairment and dementia as they aged. These healthy behaviors included not smoking, maintaining a healthy BMI, regularly exercising, consuming lots of vegetables and fruits and consuming a low to moderate amount of alcohol.

Here are 5 ways that exercise impacts your brain- (from the December 2016 Team HOTSHOT web site): http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/5-ways-exercise-impacts-brain/

  • Exercise helps the brain learn and retain – In various human and animal studies, results show that exercise not only helps the brain retain information (i.e., support/improve memory), but also helps the brain acquire new information. While some variances in research findings exists, much of this discrepancy is attributed to the type and duration of exercise prescribed to the study participants.
  • Consistent exercise helps avoid dementia – There is still a great deal we do not know about dementia. However, scientists and doctors are confident in a few preventative measures. Chief among them is healthy living: eat right, don’t smoke, and exercise. Exercise has been shown to slow the effects and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Even once these terrible diseases strike, exercise has been shown to slow the debilitating functional decline they bring about.
  • Exercise can help ease and prevent depression – Exercise has been shown effective in treating depression and, interestingly, seems to work in a dose-dependent manner much like anti-depressants. The more exercise, the greater the impact. While more research is needed, early studies also point to exercise as a mechanism to avoid the onset or development of depression.
  • Exercise mixed through your day helps concentration – Breaking up tasks such as working on a project or preparing a presentation with some aerobic-style exercise helps improve executive functions like tuning out distractions. Don’t worry, you don’t have to run a marathon over the course of your work day. Just 15-20 minutes of moderate engagement every few hours seems to make a measurable difference.
  • Reduce stress, improve life – While many people self-report a stress reduction after exercise, some scans seem to show an actual, physical shrinking in the amygdala—a part of the brain strongly implicated in processing stress, anxiety, and fear. As nice as stress-free living can be in general, it turns out less stress leads to living longer! That’s right, increased stress is strongly linked to increased occurrence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and memory loss.

If you want to build a better mind, start by working on your physical health first. Go for a walk, start incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet and try to give up any bad habits like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption. Some of these might be more difficult than others, but your brain will thank you for years to come.

If you have any questions about this blog or about your health in general, please feel free to contact me at:  drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

HOTSHOT- Great for Cramps & Much More!!!

HOTSHOT is now working to help people with Multiple Sclerosis and ALS and nocturnal leg cramping as well as for active people who suffer from exercise or exertional muscle cramps.

This is a follow up to my August Blog on muscle cramping:

https://www.performancehealthcenter.com/prevent-treat-muscle-cramps/

On the advice of Dr. Weiss I sent this blog directly to the people at HOTSHOT, and the next day I got a call from them.  They were very interested in speaking with me about my experience with their product, especially since I am an endurance athlete, and a Doctor of Chiropractic that deals directly with the nervous system- much like their product does as well.  They were also interested that I have a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and that I did my Master’s thesis on Carbohydrate Electrolyte Replacement Drinks and how they  affect athletic performance.

I did an interview with HOTSHOT and they just placed that interview live on their Website.  You can read that interview here:  http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/hotshot-works-quickly-effectively/

I was then asked to come and speak at the company’s headquarters in Boston at the Prudential Center. The first person I met when I arrived was Dr. Bruce Bean one of the co-creators of HOTSHOT.  It was a privilege to get the opportunity to meet with him and all of his co-workers.  I also got to hear firsthand several other people’s experiences with their product HOTSHOT.  One woman who has Multiple Sclerosis stood up and talked about how HOT SHOT has changed her life.  You can read her inspiring story here: http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/tracy-evangelos-marathon-journey-no-plans-stopping/

The company continues to have success with athletes all over the world and they were just recently present at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, and here is another link to an article about some of these Iron Man athletes using HOTSHOT.  http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/tracy-evangelos-marathon-journey-no-plans-stopping/

The company continues to do research on how their product helps people with Multiple Sclerosis; ALS and even for those people who suffer from nocturnal leg cramps.

If you have any questions about this blog or how this product may help you or someone you know who suffers from muscle cramping please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise = Medicine

For the 32 years I have been in practice my daily mantra to patients has been “life is motion”.  Over the years more and more research is proving how important motion (aka exercise) is to being healthy.  The latest promotion for exercise as medicine is found on the cover of Time Magazine in the September 12, 2016 issue.  The title is: “The Exercise Cure-The surprising science of a life changing workout”.  The opening line of the article states, “Researchers, scientists-even ancient philosophers-have long claimed exercise works like a miracle drug.  Now they have proof.”

WOW!  It just gets better!  According to Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McMaster University, “but as time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective, potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise.”   Now the sad part, only 20% of Americans do the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise which should be a combination of cardiovascular and strength training. In fact, 50% of Baby Boomers do no exercise at all. (I’m sure the patients and friends of Performance Health Center are in that 20% that meet the minimum standards).

Yes, going to the gym and pumping weights, then going for a run, or taking a spinning class counts as exercise.  There are lots of ways to exercise that can be, and should be part of your daily routine.  Walking, taking stairs, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, vacuuming and carrying groceries, to name a few, all count as exercise.  You don’t need to pump irons for strength training.  Yoga, Pilates and Tai chi are also excellent forms of strength training, according to exercise physiologist Anthony Hackney of UNC at Chapel Hill.

Among other things, exercise gets the blood moving to the brain which is essential for healthy aging.  Without getting too technical increase blood flow to the brain repairs, restores and fixes things that are broken.  Even more simply stated, “Exercise, then appears to slow aging at the cellular level”, according to Dr. Dr Bamman, the director of the Center for Exercise Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He also is betting that someday, “exercise will be prescribed to patients.  Instead of leaving the doctor’s office with nothing but a slip of paper with a drug name scrawled on it, patients may also get a detailed exercise plan tailored to make the medication work better.”

So, you now get how important exercise is to being your health and longevity.  Studies are now suggesting that an intense 10 minute work-out can be as beneficial as a 1 hour work-out. These 10 minute work-outs are called high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.  My suggestion is that you not try a HIIT without being under the supervision of a trainer who as the proper certification to assist you.

It’s not a secret anymore.  You need to exercise to be healthy and live a long life.  Let us assist you in getting you ready to exercise.  We’ll help get you into functional shape so you get the most out of your work-outs and you are not just re-enforcing imbalances in your body.  We’ll give you the basics, but if you need more help we are happy to point you in the right direction to either a physical therapy, or a qualified trainer.

Keep moving and stay healthy.  Research continues to prove what I will continue say to my patient’s everyday, “Life is Motion!”

For more information, or to find out if you are physical ready to exercise, please call the office and make an appointment at (508)655-9008, or email me at drbradweiss@rcn.com

 

 

 

Boost Your Immune System with Exercise!

This past month I have had a lot of patients come in with either the flu, or a really nasty cold.  We are all exposed to bacteria and viruses on a daily basis, and the best way to fight these off and stay healthy is with a strong immune system.  Since we can not completely avoid being exposed to these bacteria and viruses the best way to prevent getting sick is to find a way to boost your own immune system.  How do I do that you ask?

There are several tings that you can do to help boost your immune system.  Eat a nutritious diet full of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables; get enough sleep; stay hydrated on a daily basis; minimize stress when ever possible; exercise regularly; and maintain your regular chiropractic treatments.  I just read a recent article on how exercise can help boost our immune systems and it will be the focus of this month’s blog.

Research has established a link between moderate, regular exercise and a strong immune system. Early studies reported that recreational exercisers reported fewer colds once they began running. Moderate exercise has been linked to a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long term.

More recent studies have shown that there are physiological changes in the immune system as a response to exercise. During moderate exercise, immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make these changes a bit more long-lasting.

According to Professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University, when moderate exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that leads to a long-term immune response. His research showed that those who perform a moderate-intensity walk for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don’t exercise.

Here is a great article that was recently published in the New York Times on how Exercise may help us fight off colds:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2015/12/16/how-exercise-may-help-us-fight-off-     colds/?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=http://m.facebook.com

Next month my Blog will focus on exactly how Chiropractic treatments boost your immune system.

If you have any questions on this Blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com