Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

Keeping cool while working up a sweat

July 5, 2011

Now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, we are officially in the heart of summer.  And that means really hot and hazy and humid days in the Northeast, kind of like the one we’re having today.  While I prefer working out at the gym between now and September, there are those of you who insist you have to run outdoors even on the hottest day of the year.  You should be okay if you stay hydrated, avoid running at the hottest time of day and listen to your body for the signs of heatstroke, but here’s something else to consider: use a cooling neck wrap.

A recent study found that athletes who wore such a wrap were able to work out longer and harder even when it was very hot out.  Apparently the wrap tricks the brain into thinking the body is cool.  They think it has something to do with the wrap cooling the blood that’s flowing into the brain.  But there’s a HUGE caveat.  Even though a person doesn’t feel hot, the body still responds as if it is (increased heart rate, higher temperature, etc.).  That means if you’re not careful, you could still end up with heatstroke. 

I say skip the run on the really hot days and do some laps in the pool instead. 

 

Afternoon D-lite

July 29, 2010

Being summer and all, I’m sure you’re lathering on the sunscreen everytime you know you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time outside.   But the fact is, while that sunscreen is helping to preven skin cancer it’s also blocking our bodies from getting the amount of Vitamin D it needs.

Just how essential is Vitamin D?  Almost every tissue in your body (we’re talking skin, heart, brain, muscles and immune system) has receptors for it.  And a lack of Vitamin D affects bone growth and can lead to a loss in bone density, not to mention there are new studies that suggest it results in an elevated risk of certain cancers, heart disease and high blood pressure and various auto-immune disorders.

More and more people suffer from a lack of Vitamin D and a lot of it has to do with how well we protect ourselves from the sun.  That’s because our main source of it comes from the sun’s ultra-violet B rays.  Vitamin D can also be absorbed through food sources (like fortified milk and orange juice), but you’d have to consume massive amounts to get the amount the body needs.  There are also supplements you can take, but they can be dangerous because if you take too much, your body is unable to get rid of it.

So the best way to make sure you’re getting Vitamin D is to spend some unprotected time in the sun during these hot summer months.  In fact, one doctor tells the New York Times that if we get enough summer sun exposure, our bodies should be able to produce enough Vitamin D to get through the entire year! 

Now, I’m not condoning spending an entire day at the beach without sunscreen.  That would just be stupid.  Here’s what that same doctor mentioned above recommends:  wear minimal clothing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. two or three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes.  That means no sunscreen, except on your face, where you should always wear it.

So the next time someone tells you you should always wear sunscreen, don’t feel guilty and then share the info you just learned!

Summer break

July 20, 2010

The way I feel daily this summer

I feel like my garden during these hot, hot, hot summer days…parched and wilted.  What’s needed is a cool and refreshing pick-me-up and I’ve come across the perfect recipe.  The drink is called a June Bug.  This recipe is courtesy of “Porch Parties: Cocktail Recipes and Easy Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining”.  The drink is super simple to make and, I find, the perfect thing on a hot sultry day.

3 cups ginger ale (I substitutted the diet kind to cut down on the sugar)

2 1/2 ounces of orange juice

2 1/2 ounces of grenadine

3 scoops orange sherbet

Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until the sherbet is incorporated.  Makes about 8 servings.

Tips for staying safe this holiday weekend

July 2, 2010

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is upon us.  The beach!  Pools!  Fireworks!  Backyard BBQs!  Go out and enjoy, but do me a favor and stay safe.  Lest you need some reminding, here are my top ten tips for a safe summer.

1 — Wear Sunscreen!  At least an SPF 30 if it’s your first time out in the sun.  A lower SPF means you’ll burn quicker, not tan faster.  And don’t forget to reapply, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.  If you’re not sure when it’s time to lather up again, invest in some UVSunSense bracelets.

2– Wear Sunglasses!  Protecting your baby blues from the sun is just as important as protecting your skin.  Some studies suggest prolonged unprotected exposure to harmful UV rays increases your risk of developing macular degeneration.

3–Stay Hydrated!  And no, parking yourself next the keg in the backyard doesn’t count.  Be sure to drink plenty of water.  The hotter it is, the faster you lose liquids.  If you are imbibing, try to alternate every other alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

4–Swim Supervised!  This goes especially if you’re at the beach.  Be sure to only swim in the waters patrolled by lifeguards.  With Hurricane Alex churning out there in the Atlantic, rip currents along the coast are stronger than usual.

5– Leave the Fireworks to Macy’s! Emergency room visits skyrocket during the fourth of July holiday, mostly because of all those backyard fireworks shows.  If you want to keep all your fingers and toes, let the pros handle the fire show.

6–Don’t Drink and Drive! Believe it or not, the Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday weekend for drunk driving.  Yes, even more than the New Year holiday.  So if you’re drinking, please make sure you have a designated driver.  If you’re not drinking, but will be on the road, be alert to the dangerous drivers around you.

7–Don’t Get Sick!  Summer grilling seasoning is high time for food poisoning.  Whether it’s salmonella or E coli or just food that’s been left out in the heat too long, take care to not get sick (or make your guests sick).  Make sure everything’s cook/served/stored at the proper temperature.  That’s unless you don’t want to host the BBQ next year!

8–Shoo Fly!  Bugs.  They’re the bane of outdoor summer fun.  If you want to keep them at bay, skip the scented soaps, perfumes and hairspray.  If your backyard is especially buggy, invest in a sunscreen with bug repellent. 

9–Don’t Forget Fido! Pets, like people, aren’t immune to the hot weather.  They can become dehydrated more quickly than humans, so make sure your pooch has plenty of fresh water available if you’re taking her along to the picnic/BBQ.  Also, make sure she has a shady place to rest.

10–Practice Moderation!  Here it is again, the BuffBroad golden rule!  Whether it’s the sun, or the water or food and especially the alcohol, don’t overdo it.  Too much of something isn’t always a good thing.  But don’t forget to have fun!  Being happy is one thing this buff broad doesn’t think you should moderate!

Happy Fourth!

Photo courtesy of Flikr

Keeping cool this summer

June 25, 2010

Summer is already kicking into high gear here in New York.  Heat!  Humidity!

If the sunny weather has you itching to take your workout outside…you’re nuts!  Just kidding.   But do me a favor and follow these simple steps to avoid dehydration and heat stroke.  (I know you’ve probably heard them before, but they’re worth repeating.)

  • Drink, drink and then drink some more.  A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 20 ounces of water before a workout and then 8 ounces every 15-20 minutes while exercising.  How can you tell if you’re drinking enough?  Weigh yourself before and after working out.  If you’re 1-2 pounds lighter post-run, you’ve got to drink more.
  • Hey, slow down!  Look, I know you want to go out there and give it your all, all the time, but when the heat index (that’s temperature and humidity) is hovering near 90, take it easy.  Your body is already warmer than usual and you’re going to hit your max heart rate faster on a hot and humid summer day, then a crisp fall day. 
  • Exercise early or late.  Just avoid the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak and temperatures are at their hottest.  If you can’t, then accept the fact that you’ll just have to stick to the air-conditioned gym for your workouts.
  • Wear Sunscreen!  You know why.  Enough said.

Summer shoes

May 21, 2010

So an old post of mine about the dangers lurking in your flip flops has been getting a lot of hits lately.  I guess it’s ’cause the weather is heating up and people can’t wait to ditch the boots (I know I can’t!), but I digress.  Considering it’s popularity and the fact that the official start of summer is just a weekend away, I thought I’d re-post it.   By the way…if you’re looking for some new nail polish to brighten up those toes, I suggest the color “Sunshine” from Avon.  Their “Tropical Punch” is also a delicious summer polish.  Get them both here.

Killer Shoes

Bouncing around the web recently and came across this headline “Can Your Flip Flops Kill You?”  What?  Say it ain’t so!  Not my favorite summer-time footwear!  Now before you go and throw out the ten thousand pairs of flip flops currently cluttering the bottom of your closet floor, it turns out you won’t drop dead the next time you slip into that pair of hot pink beach sandals.  (A sensational headline – shocker!)

The story comes via the TODAY show, which commissioned the University of Miami’s emergency mobile flip-flop lab (those things exist?) to test footwear on the streets of New York.  What they found, in a word, is gross.  One pair of toe thongs yielded more than 18 thousand bacteria.  Wait…it gets even more disgusting.  The kinds of germs were bacteria from fecal matter, yeast infections and diaper rash, to name a few.  Makes you think twice about wearing flip-flops the next time you ride the subway, no?  But me, being me, I’m not yet ready to throw my shoes away…so what’s a flip-flop aficionado to do?

Here’s the pro advice (common sense, really): avoid touching your flip-flops and your unwashed feet as much as possible and take off your shoes before walking around the house.  Done and done.

In a pickle

September 8, 2009

There’s no lack of fitness tips out there, but I recently stumbled across one of the most picklesbizarre ones I’ve ever come across.  Here it is: Instead of drinking a sports drink before an intense workout on a hot day, some trainers suggest downing 4-8 ounces of pickle juice 45 minutes before exercising.  They say the salt and vinegar in the juice can help muscles recover from sodium loss and decrease cramping.  Um, no thanks.  I think I’ll just stick with the fruit punch flavored sports drink and plain old water.

Killer Shoes

September 3, 2009

65817ebeach-bound-flip-flops-postersBouncing around the web recently and came across this headline “Can Your Flip Flops Kill You?”  What?  Say it ain’t so!  Not my favorite summer-time footwear!  Now before you go and throw out the ten thousand pairs of flip flops currently cluttering the bottom of your closet floor, it turns out you won’t drop dead the next time you slip into that pair of hot pink beach sandals.  (A sensational headline – shocker!)

The story comes via the TODAY show, which commissioned the University of Miami’s emergency mobile flip-flop lab (those things exist?) to test footwear on the streets of New York.  What they found, in a word, is gross.  One pair of toe thongs yielded more than 18 thousand bacteria.  Wait…it gets even more disgusting.  The kinds of germs were bacteria from fecal matter, yeast infections and diaper rash, to name a few.  Makes you think twice about wearing flip-flops the next time you ride the subway, no?  But me, being me, I’m not yet ready to throw my shoes away…so what’s a flip-flop aficionado to do?

Here’s the pro advice (common sense, really): avoid touching your flip-flops and your unwashed feet as much as possible and take off your shoes before walking around the house.  Done and done.

Cover Your Eyes

September 2, 2009

The last weekend of the summer is upon us and if you’re heading to the beach for the long weekend, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen and the sunglasses.

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Image from angelglam.com

Now we all know that lying out in the sun without sunscreen is bad (even deadly) for your skin, but you should also be taking steps to protect your eyes.

It’s as simple as wearing sunglasses the next time you head out on a sunny day.

Now, I don’t want to hear about how you don’t wear sunglasses because they cause weird tan lines or that they make you nauseous. (Seriously, I have a friend who says wearing shades makes her queasy.) According to the experts, prolonged exposure to bright sun can lead to cataracts and retina damage down the road. And those of us sporting baby blues are at an even higher risk. (Those raccoon tans lines don’t seem like such a bad trade-off now, do they?)

By the way, those dollar store shades aren’t going to cut it. The cheapo glasses can actually do more harm than going without because they dilate the eye, letting in more harmful UV light.

So what should you buy? Ophthalmologists recommend choosing dark glasses with UV filters. You’ll know you’re getting a good pair cause it’ll have a sticker touting its UV blocking abilities right there on the lens.

If you’re still not convinced, remember that when you’re wearing shades, you look cool. (Well, most of us do.) Just don’t become one of those people who never take them off, even at night. That’s not so cool.