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Cooling Down After a Workout

You should not stop suddenly after running very fast or doing any other very intense exercise, because it may cause you to get dizzy or pass out. When you exercise, your legs drive your heart, your heart does not drive your legs. First, your leg muscle contract and squeeze the blood vessels near them to pump blood toward your heart. Then the increased amount of blood returning to your heart stretches the heart and cause it to beat faster and with more force. Then your leg muscles relax and the veins near them fill with blood to start the next cycle. When you run fast, your leg muscle do a considerable amount of the work pumping blood through your body. If you stop suddenly, the blood pools in your legs and your heart has to pick up the slack.

At the end of a long race, your heart may not be able to pump more blood, so not enough reaches your brain and you end up unconscious. Researchers at the University of Capetown in South Africa analyzed data on runners who collapsed during an ultramarathon. Most cases occurred after the runner crossed the finish line. The few cases of collapse away from the finish line were caused by diseases such as asthma and heart damage.

When you slow down gradually, you allow time for your heart to pump harder to make up for the loss of pumping by your legs. However, cooling down will not prevent muscle soreness, which is caused by tearing your muscle fibers during exercise.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Should I peel apples to avoid eating the wax on the skin?

Many fruits and vegetables that you buy in supermarkets are covered with wax to keep them from rotting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that most waxes used to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables are perfectly safe to eat. They are made from wax and other oils extracted from plant leaves, or wax made by the lace bug. The FDA has found that the commonly-used fungicides in waxes are also safe. However, some waxes are made from beef tallow, which would offend vegetarians. North American food processors do not use waxes of animal origin, but many foreign shippers do.

Fruit and vegetable skins are concentrated sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. I always eat the skins unless they are too tough, thick or bitter to be palatable.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I'm looking for an explanation of increased triglycerides in athletes.

During exercise, your adrenal glands release extra adrenalin and nor-adrenalin, which cause fat reserves to release huge amounts of triglycerides into your bloodstream. Blood levels of triglycerides exceeding 400 are not unusual during competition. However, during exhaustive exercise over many hours, these triglyceride reserves are usually used up and blood levels go down. High resting triglyceride levels in an athlete mean that you are taking on more calories than you need, you are eating too much flour and sugar, or you are pre-diabetic or diabetic. Check with your doctor.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can you cure baldness with shampoos that unclog your hair follicles?

Don't be taken in by ads claiming that male pattern baldness is caused by blocked pores and that you can cure it with a special shampoo that opens the pores so hair can break through the skin and reach the surface. Bald men have almost the same number of hairs on their heads as those who have full heads of hair. However, the hair of bald men is so thin, light and short that you can see it only when you look very closely. Blocked pores do not cause baldness and unblocking pores to grow hair is nonsense.

Promoters demonstrate these product by measuring dry hair, applying the shampoo and then measuring the hair again, showing you that it has grown. Actually, any wet hair can be stretched and will measure longer than dry hair. If these products worked, you would not see any bald men walking around. Save your money.


Recipe of the Week:
Diana?s recipe for this traditional Spanish seafood stew uses whole grains in place of white rice. Barley is my favorite, but you can use brown rice or any other whole grain of your choice.

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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