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Hot-Weather Exercisers Need Salt

Fatigue during hot-weather exercise is caused by lack of water, salt, sugar or calories. Of the four, exercisers are most ignorant of their sodium needs. A study from The University of Otago in New Zealand shows that taking a salty drink prior to competition can help an athlete to exercise longer and harder. (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, January, 2007; and Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, January 2007). Athletes who took the salty drink had larger blood volumes and greater endurance. Salt makes you thirsty earlier so you drink more, and salt in your body holds water so you have more water available to meet your needs.

In 1942, James Gamble of Harvard Medical School was hired to establish guidelines for soldiers fighting in the very hot climate of the South Pacific. He found that the only mineral needed for exercise in hot weather is sodium, found in common table salt. As a result of his studies, salt tablets were recommended for people who worked or exercised in hot weather, but since they caused stomach problems and because of concerns about high blood pressure, salt tablets were abandoned in the 1970s.

Salty drinks taste bad, so it is easier to meet your needs with salted foods. If you plan to exercise for more than a couple hours in hot weather, drink one or two cups of the liquid of your choice each hour and eat a salty food such as salted peanuts.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: What is the best exercise for me after knee replacement surgery?

All people who have had joint replacements need an exercise program, and the most effective exercise is pedaling a stationary bicycle, according to researchers at Western Galilee Hospital in Israel (Harefuah, December 2006). Without exercise after joint replacement, muscles atrophy and the hip and knee joints become extremely unstable.

People who have hip and knee replacements should not return to sports that involve running or jumping. Total hip and knee replacement devices have spikes that are placed into the bones of the leg and hip. Your feet hit the ground hard when you run or jump, propelling a shock up the leg to the hip and knee joints that can dislodge the spikes. Pedaling uses a smooth rotary motion that causes almost no impact of the feet on the pedals. Pedaling is done primarily with the muscles of the upper legs, and strengthening these muscles stabilizes both the knee and hip joints. Cycling outdoors can be dangerous since a fall could dislodge the joint replacement. If you were not a skilled cyclist before surgery and want to ride outdoors, try a tricycle.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: How can my diet affect my risk for prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in middle- aged men, and what a man eats may have a lot to do with his susceptibility. A study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden shows that men who ate fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel were 64 percent less likely to suffer prostate cancer than men who never ate fish. (International Journal of Cancer, November 2006).

The authors think that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fatty fish block the prostate's production of prostaglandin E2 that causes inflammation. Your immune system is supposed to produce proteins and cells that kill germs and protect you from infection. However, if your immunity stays active, you can suffer from a process called inflammation, in which these same agents attack your body to cause a variety of problems including some types of cancers. Interestingly, only fish-based omega-3 fatty acids were shown to be associated with prevention of prostate cancer. In some studies, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid appear to raise levels of prostaglandin E2 and increase prostate cancer risk. More This issue is still controversial.


Recipes - Cold Soups for Summer!

Cold Red Pepper Soup
Cold Black Bean Soup

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

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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