What should I do on hot days when I perspire a lot? Should I take salt tablets or drink Gatorade?
First of all, you don't need salty water. The salt in your diet is already a problem, so don't add to it. And you don't need any extra sugar, either. Your fat stores are being converted to sugar. You just need to replace the water you've lost during exercise. That's all. Your body knows just what to do—so let it do it, naturally, particularly if it's a hot day, or if you live in a very dry climate, just drink a few glasses of plain water, slowly and carefully. That'll do the trick.
Philip Felig and colleagues at Yale University have been working in this area and have published their results in an issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (1982). Their research showed that it takes several hours of endurance exercise (such as cycling or running) to use up stored fuel and drop the blood sugar level, even in a lean athlete. Even then, performance doesn't suffer—nor is it improved by drinking glucose and water.
And those of us with some fat stored around the tummy or hips needn't worry at all about running out of fuel! In fact, if you exercise before eating, you will derive more of your energy from burning up those unwanted fat stores. (Obesity Research 2003 Feb; 11:247-56). That’s what they’re there for!
I'm just beginning my exercise program, and I'm wondering what I should do if my muscles are sore a lot of the time?
The test is that when you're stiff and sore and you do your stretching and begin to exercise, it should get better. If it gets worse when you exercise, you should go see your doctor about it.
I've been thinking of jogging, but I'm concerned about the quality of the air. Does it make any difference where I jog?
I really enjoy relaxing in a hot tub after my workout. Is that okay for me to do?
I'd also recommend that you be careful about hot tubs and saunas if you're on blood pressure pills—especially the central acting drugs, methyldopa, clonidine and guanabenz. Ask your doctor what he thinks—I recommend extreme caution if you're on these pills, because the heat may cause you to dilate your blood vessels and faint.
I'm taking the beta blocker Tenormin and find it impossible to get my heart rate much higher than 120, even though my predicted THR is nearer 150. What should I do?
When you stop taking the beta blockers, or reduce the dose, you'll need a new exercise prescription, because your THR will change, sometimes dramatically. Again, your doctor or cardiologist is the one to talk to about this.
All right, And here's one final piece of advice. If you need to lose weight, and you're just beginning a regular exercise program, don't use food as a reward system for exercising. You have a beautiful mechanism inside you that matches your caloric intake with how much you burn, and exercise will tend to make you more aware of it. But I've seen people jog every day for two years and not lose a pound—and all because they rewarded themselves with snacks every time they'd been good and done their exercise! Exercise can really help you lose weight! So give it a chance.
Author: Cleaves M. Bennett MD FACP
As we've seen, aerobic exercise is exercise that generates heat—and, because it does, I'd like to talk a little about what clothes to wear while you're exercising. Read More