Tag Archives: exercise

  • Healthy Hydration for Hot Summer Days

    Good hydration isn’t just about drinking lots of water—especially when you’re out in the hot summer sun. Even if you get your requisite 64 oz of water a day, exercising in the heat require the right minerals and electrolytes to keep your body moving.

    To determine whether you’re dehydrated, the simplest rule of thumb is to check the color of your urine—it should be a light straw color or lighter.

    “I’m a big proponent of hydrating before you exercise,” says Dr. Andrew Datti, naturopath at our north Boulder location. “Shoot for a liter before, a liter or two on the way, and a liter on the way back.” He also recommends drinking mineral water or natural spring water, which will naturally have more nutrients and electrolytes than filtered or tap water.

    So what are some other ways to keep from dehydrating and losing electrolytes? Dr. Rebecca Phillips, DC, from our Albuquerque location, says to make sure you’re packing along the right kind of snacks that can replenish the nutrients and sugars your body is burning off.

    Dr. Phillips cites a study done on hikers in the Grand Canyon, who exercised in 120 degree heat. She says that those that drank just Gatorade didn’t get very far; the group that just drank water fared slightly better; but the group that ate two salty crackers along with each 8 oz of water didn’t overheat.

    The key is in allowing your body to sweat, which requires salt. As such, Dr. Phillips recommends turning to salty chips or soda crackers when you start feeling wilted, extra sensitive to the heat, or are losing good judgment.

    “If you’re legs start getting tired, then you need other electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium,” she says. She recommends Oxylent Multivitamins, which come in single-serve packets that are easy to stash in a daypack and add to your water bottle. “Those nutrients will allow your muscles to work again and revive you for awhile.”

    “When you ‘hit the wall,’ meaning you start becoming dizzy or your balance is off, that’s one indicator that you’ve used up your glycogen stores and your blood sugar is dropping,” says Dr. Datti. That’s when it’s good to have sugar on hand, along with with protein—try our Pharmaca brand Mighty Omega-3 Mix, which features chocolate, almonds, cranberries, walnuts and blueberries.

    If your blood sugar drop is really extreme and you start sweating profusely and feeling shaky, it can help to have some liquid sugar on hand, such as orange juice, coconut water, or even beer, says Dr. Phillips. Dr. Datti agrees that coconut water can be a great way to replace electrolytes and get some natural sugar.

    Pick up hydration and snacks for your next outing at a Pharmaca near you.

  • Shape up with better sports nutrition

    Proper nutrition is vital for athletes at all stages of activity. Whether you’re already heavy into a routine or just getting started, congratulations! Activity can benefit you mentally, physically and emotionally. Here are some nutrition and supplementation recommendations to keep your body feeling strong and healthy throughout your workouts.

    Since athletes use more energy, their bodies naturally need more nutrition (and calories). Here are some basic rules of thumb for eating while active:

    • Get adequate protein: Adequate, regular consumption of protein is necessary because it is not readily stored by the body for later use. It’s especially important to consume protein just after exercise, in order to rebuild and repair muscle. Note: Increased protein intake comes with an increased demand for hydration, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water along with it.
    • Go for healthy carbohydrates: Carbs are the most efficient fuel for the body and are essential for athleticism. Complex carbohydrates are broken down and stored as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscles. The body converts the glycogen to glucose, providing sustained energy during an athletic event. Good sources of carbs for athletes are colorful fruits (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apricots, plums, oranges, plums and prunes), vegetables (sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant, carrots), grains (brown rice, millet, oats) and legumes (lentils, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans).
    • Maintain good hydration: Athletic performance can sap your fluid levels, so rehydrate with plenty of liquids and electrolytes before, during and particularly after exercise.

    Though it’s always best to get nutrients through a healthy, balanced diet, these supplements can assist in building and preparing the body for workouts—as well as for post-workout recovery.

    • A good multivitamin is necessary to ensure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals to nourish your muscles.
    • Vitamin C can help to reduce pain and speed muscle recovery after exercise. Try taking 500-1,000 mg before and after your workout.
    • Electrolytes can boost performance and replace lost electrolytes. Since the body actively loses electrolytes through sweating, it’s most important to drink your electrolytes during and after your exercise regimen.
    • Eleuthero helps strengthen immune function. Power Adapt by Natura is an excellent blend of herbs, including eleuthero and medicinal mushrooms, that supplies the body with energy and overall stamina. This can be taken every day while you are working out regularly.
    • Cordyceps is very supportive of lung oxygenation and core energy while mitigating stress. This medicinal mushroom is another great one to take on a daily basis.
    • Magnesium helps to reduce muscle cramping and may improve performance. Take magnesium before and after your work out.
    • Protein powder can help increase performance and rebuild muscle. Pharmaca offers protein powder from a variety of sources, including whey, egg white and vegetables such as pea, hemp or soy.
    • Proteolytic enzymes, such as bromelain, help to control inflammation, swelling and sprains. Try Jarrow Formulas’ Bromelain or Pharmaca’s Turmeric & Bromelain. These may be taken on a daily basis or following an injury to assist the body with repair.
    • Zyflamend by New Chapter is an herbal blend that works to balance and promote the body’s natural, healthy inflammation process, and is a great alternative to ibuprofen. If you suffer from chronic pain or inflammation this can be a good addition to your daily supplement regimen.
    • Arnica, both internally and externally, can help to reduce inflammation and is best taken immediately following an injury or painful event.

    Lastly, if you do get injured while exercising, follow the R.I.C.E treatment: Rest your body; Ice your injury every hour; Compress with bandages, tape or a brace; and Elevate your injury.

    Kate Brainard attended Bastyr University’s doctorate program in Naturopathic Medicine. She currently manages Pharmaca’s La Jolla store. 

  • Obesity, exercise and breast cancer

    Research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Now, a recent study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that obesity may also increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that is not fueled by estrogen and usually has a poor prognosis.

    The researchers analyzed data from 155,723 postmenopausal women who participated in a large-scale study called the Women's Health Initiative. The women were categorized into four groups, depending on their body mass index (BMI) scores. After an average follow-up period of 7.9 years, 2,610 women were diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, and 307 were diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. The authors found that women with the highest BMIs were 35 percent more likely to develop triple-negative breast cancer and 39 percent more likely to develop other types of breast cancer than those with the lowest BMIs. Additionally, women who exercised the most had a lower risk of developing both estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer compared to those who did not exercise.

    Exercise is also vital for women whose breast cancer is in remission. In a 2005 American Medical Association study, researchers found that women who did at least four hours of moderate exercise per week—such as walking at an average pace—substantially reduced their risk of cancer recurrence.

    If you're a survivor and are interested in finding a community of other survivors to work out with, look into your local chapter of Team Survivor, an organization created just for this purpose.

3 Item(s)