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Temperature During Exercise

You sweat more after you finish exercising than you do while you exercise. You are also more likely to pass out from heat stroke immediately after you stop than during strenuous activity. More than seventy percent of the energy that powers your muscles is lost as heat, causing your body temperature to rise during exercise. To keep body temperature from rising too high, the heart pumps heat in blood from muscles to skin, you sweat which evaporates to cool your body. Sweating is controlled by the temperature of the blood flowing to the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. When your temperature rises, you sweat more.

During exercise, your heart beats rapidly to pump blood to bring oxygen to muscles and hot blood from muscles to the skin where heat can be dissipated. When you stop exercising, your heart immediately slows down, so less blood is pumped to your skin, and your temperature rises higher and you sweat more. If you are already overheated, this extra heat can cause you to pass out.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I don’t stay on my exercise bike very long because it makes me miserable. Is there any way to make the seat more comfortable?

I can think of two solutions. Switch to a recumbent stationary bike, or do short, intense workouts where you alternate between sitting and standing. When you ride a conventional stationary bicycle, you sit on a narrow bicycle seat because your legs have to reach around the seat down to the pedals. The pudendal nerve in your pelvis can be pinched by the seat to cause numbness and pain in your crotch and genitals. When you sit on a recumbent bicycle that has the pedals at the same height as your pelvis, your legs are not separated by the seat so you don't need a narrow bicycle seat. You sit on a seat shaped like a regular chair which is contoured to fit your back and is very comfortable. Anyone who can sit in a chair can use a recumbent stationary bike, so even elderly people with poor coordination and weak muscles can get the benefits of exercise.

My current favorite workout bike is a "spinning" bike, the same kind used for classes in many gyms. It’s an upright bike with a standard narrow seat, but you don’t get sore because you never sit for long. In a "spinning" workout you cycle as fast and as hard as you can for brief periods, changing positions and resistance frequently. The bike has a very heavy wheel that moves smoothly and adjusts easily. In spinning classes, you have an upbeat instructor, music and other cyclists to keep you motivated, but you can do the same workout on your own. Used, reconditioned spinning bikes are available at reasonable prices if you decide you’d like to have one at home.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is it true that people who drink a lot of coffee are less likely to develop diabetes?

A recent study showed that drinking more than six cups of coffee per day lowered women’s risk for diabetes by 30 percent and men’s risk by up to 50 percent (Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2004). Before you start to drink so much coffee that you fell shaky and have difficulty sleeping at night, realize that the study only showed an association between coffee and diabetes prevention. It did not show that drinking lots of coffee prevents diabetes. One author of the study, Joan Manson, thinks that the magnesium and potassium in coffee make your body more sensitive to insulin; and another author, Frank Hu, believes that coffee contains antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid which may help to prevent diabetes. The authors claim that they corrected their data for obesity, but a more likely explanation is that six cups of coffee contain a lot of the stimulant, caffeine, which helps to control weight; and staying at your ideal weight reduces your risk for diabetes.

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Don't give up soups when the weather gets hot -- try these delicious, refreshing cold soups.

Cold Red Pepper Soup
Gazpacho I -- a great way to use ripe tomatoes!
Gazpacho II -- a spicy, chunky version

Puree soups with ease using a hand blender.

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 27th, 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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