Beat the Heat: Excercise Tips for the Summer Months

No matter where you reside, summer months can make it difficult to exercise outside. The heat and humidity make any activity difficult and even dangerous.

How Your Body is Affected by Heat

When exercising during hot weather, it puts added strain on your body. You need to be careful, otherwise, you risk suffering a serious heat-related illness.

If the air is also very humid, your body has even more stress because your sweat will not easily evaporate off your skin. This causes the temperature of your body to increase even more.

Under normal circumstances, your body has the ability to adjust itself to withstand the heat. However, the natural cooling systems your body uses could fail if you are exposed to humidity and high temperatures for a long time, sweat profusely and do not drink adequate amounts of fluids to stay hydrated.

The end-result could be suffering a heat-related illness. These illnesses range in severity; they start out mild, but worsen, if not treated.

Ten Exercise Tips to Keep You Safe in the Summer Heat

Know your own medical risks.

Before beginning any exercise plan, you should speak with your doctor to make sure it is okay for you to do so. In addition, there are particular medications and medical conditions that may increase your risk of suffering with a heat-related illness. Be sure to discuss these issues with your physician as well.

Know your level of fitness.

If you are new to exercise or unfit, you need to be even more cautious while working out in heat. Your body could have a lower heat tolerance. When first starting your routine, take frequent breaks and do not start with an intense exercise routine.

Slowly transition from exercising inside to outside.

If you are not used to exercising in the heat, your body will need to adapt. Start easy for a few weeks while your body begins to adapt to the temperature. Then you can gradually increase how long and how intense your workouts are.

Watch your local weather forecast.

Know the temperature and heat alerts for your area. You need to know what temperature to expect for your outdoor activities.

Go out early in the morning or in the evening.

Outdoor temperatures are the highest in the mid-afternoon, so avoiding prolonged physical activity during this time is wise. The early morning temperature is generally ten degrees cooler, making it more favorable for physical activity. You can also exercise in the shade or do water aerobics/pool exercises to stay cooler.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

In order to keep your body’s core temperature cooler when exposed to excessive heat, you will perspire. For this reason, you need to replace the fluids you lose to prevent dehydration. In fact, drinking continuously is recommended. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink, just keep drinking.

If you are planning to work out for more than an hour, one of the Sports drinks containing electrolytes will also help you rehydrate. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, as they can assist in the dehydration process by promoting fluid loss.

Keep your body covered up.

Keeping yourself covered and the sun off your skin will prevent sunburn and keep you cooler. By wearing clothing with adequate coverage and materials that will wick moisture, perspiration is pulled away from your skin. This aids in cooling your body. Wear light-colored clothing, since dark colors actually absorb heat.

Always wear sunscreen on exposed skin.

You need to wear sunscreen that has an SPF that is greater than 30. Reapply the sunscreen often, since your sweat will wash it away.

Pay attention to your body.

If you begin feeling light-headed while exercising, you could be feeling the effects of a heat related illness. Stopping activity if you are feeling this is advisable. Find a cool spot to relax and rehydrate. Should you continue exercising and stop perspiring altogether, you need to seek medical assistance immediately.

If possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Wearing a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat is also helpful to keep the sun off your face.

Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. By taking these ten basic precautions, you can exercise safely even when it is hot and humid outside.

Avoiding Heart Disease

Though there is no magic pill or a surgery that can undo the damage of heart disease, medicines and medical procedures are available that will enable you to live with the disease. By following certain healthy lifestyle choices, women can take steps to avoid the development of heart disease. It is just as important for women to know the first signs of a heart attack so that quick medical attention will minimize the damage to her arteries.

What is heart disease?

Coronary heart disease can cause a heart attack, a stroke or angina. It is a disorder of the heart and of the blood vessel system which is very prevalent in women who have heart disease. Arteries become blocked or significantly narrowed. Nutrients and oxygen is prevented from getting into the heart. Other heart diseases include arrhythmia, heart infections and congenital heart defects. They can hurt heart muscles, valves and can cause an irregular heart beat.

Differing heart attack symptoms for women

Many people are aware that if they have excruciating chest pains that they are most likely having a heart attack. A lot of times it is different for women. When a woman’s main arteries are blocked, it is not unusual for her to have also developed small vessel heart disease. This means her small arteries are blocked, making her symptoms drastically different than men’s. Not knowing these symptoms often causes women to wait too long in receiving medical attention and making permanent damage more probable. Paralysis or death can ensue.

If you start having these symptoms for no reason, get medical help immediately:

  1. Abdominal discomfort or shoulder, neck or upper back pain
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Vomiting or an upset stomach
  4. Dizziness, lightheadedness or sweating
  5. Unusually tired

Risk factors for women developing heart disease

  1. Being obese, having high blood pressure and cholesterol are common risk factors for men and women. However, in women, having high levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides are higher risks factors for having a heart attack.
  2. Stress and depression influences a woman’s lifestyle more than a man’s. It becomes harder for her to maintain a healthy lifestyle in eating nutritious foods regularly and to exercise the amount needed.
  3. After menopause, the lower levels of estrogen can increase the risk of a heart attack.
  4. Smoking is a big risk factor for woman in developing coronary heart disease.

Ways to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

  1. Watch your weight. Eat foods that are low in sodium, low in saturated fats and contain low levels of cholesterol. Eat healthy vegetables and foods that have high vitamin levels.
  2. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes every day. This will help lower stress and depression while giving your body a good physical workout. Talk with your doctor before starting new exercise programs or over the counter drugs.
  3. After menopause, ask your doctor about any concerns with your estrogen level.
  4. Stop smoking or do not start.

Nearly 34 percent of white women in our country are living with cardiovascular heart disease along with almost 50 percent of African American women. These statistics count for one in three woman who have some form of cardiovascular disease. In the past 25 years, the rate of heart disease among men has steadily decreased. Unfortunately, the declining rate for woman has not been as successful. Be mindful of the tips here to help you avoid the disease.

Health Benefits of Eating Right and Exercising

Eating Right and Exercising Go Hand in Hand

Eating right and exercising are two of the best things you can do for your health. Neither of these have to be a chore to be endured. There are plenty of healthy foods that can feel incredibly indulgent, as well as physical activities that are as fun as they are good for you.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Body

When we do not eat healthily, the effects manifest in a variety of ways. Excess calories can lead to weight gain. Diets that are too high in saturated fats can cause heart troubles. Too much sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, what you eat can also protect your health. Getting plenty of calcium from dairy and leafy greens helps protect against osteoporosis later in life. Heart-healthy omega 3s that come in foods like salmon taste great while they help everything from your brain to your skin to your cardiovascular system.

Feeling Better Year Around

By taking care to eat right, you not only improve your health, but also feel better all around. Try to eat a varied diet rich in vegetables and whole grains, with protein that comes from low fat sources like fish, lean red meat or chicken, and legumes such as lentils or black beans.

A healthy diet does not have to be boring. Experiment with a wide ranges of foods and ethnic influences. Pump up the flavor with herbs, spices and seasonings from around the world. Not only will you eat a healthier diet, you will experience a wider range of exciting gustatory adventures. If you find that you do not like a food that is considered “healthy” try preparing it a different way. For instance, many people find that they like roast vegetables much more than steamed. And, do not feel obligated to stick with any food you don’t like. There are always many other healthy alternatives.

Exercise to Keep Fit

Getting plenty of exercise has myriad benefits, too. Fitness professionals say that you should get at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, at least five days every week. This exercise can come in nearly any form you like. It does not have to be done in one block. For instance, you can squeeze in three 10 minute walks each day between other commitments.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Taking up a hobby like yoga, dance or rollerblading is a great way to enjoy an activity that you do for your own pleasure. Classes and leagues give you valuable, health-enhancing social contacts. Try out different activities until you find the one that is right for you.

Solo Exercise Benefits

For instance, many people find that they enjoy the quiet reflection of solo activities such as biking or walking on a treadmill. Other people find the social aspect of team sports to be more inspiring. Choices run from tae bo to dance to rock climbing. There is an exercise out there for everyone.

When you exercise regularly, you experience less depression and anxiety. People who get plenty of exercise usually also have stronger immune systems, and experience less chronic pain. Taking the time to do these things for yourself will enhance every area of your life. You are worth working on and working for, and seeing to your body’s needs is one way to care for yourself. So make sure to start eating right and exercising right today.



Healthy Eating at Home and on the Road

Knowing how to eat right is not something you are born with, it takes practice. Managing a wholesome diet program is a learning process that anyone can master whether at home or on the road. It’s not exactly news that healthy eating has its advantages. What constitutes healthy eating though?

How to Start Healthy Eating

Eating right is one of the kindest things you can do for your body. Without it, you risk high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other forms of chronic illness. Maintaining a healthy diet will give you energy and make eating overall more satisfying. There are three things to keep in mind.

  • Balance – A healthy diet includes all the major food groups. Meals should be a balance of grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits and dairy.
  • Variety – Mix up your foods and don’t be afraid to try new things. Proteins do not always have to be meats. Legumes and nuts are beneficial, as well. You will be more likely to stick to a healthy meal plan if you keep it interesting.
  • Moderation – Eat when you are hungry, but stop when you are full. If you are craving sweets, treat yourself, but keep portion sizes reasonable. Any food is okay once in a while if you eat it in moderation.

The Healthy Eating Plate

Many may remember when healthy eating meant consulting the food pyramid. Eating right has not changed, but the tools available to learn from have gotten better. The Healthy Eating Plate is a visual reference to teach individuals about portion control.

If you imagine a dinner plate, a healthy meal consists of one-quarter whole grains, one-quarter healthy proteins, and one-quarter vegetables. Add an extra scoop of fruits. If you follow the healthy plate when setting up meal plans, you won’t go wrong.

When cooking or for salads, stick to healthy oils such as olive and canola. The Mayo Clinic advises you to avoid oils that contain saturated fats as they can raise cholesterol levels and put you and your family at risk for heart disease. Avoid cooking in lard, butter, coconut, palm or any tropical oils.

What to Do on the Road?

Eating while traveling can be a challenge when you are trying to stick to a healthy diet. There are some tricks to staying true to form when on the road.

  • Breakfast – Go with what you know when ordering breakfast at a restaurant. A stack of hot cakes with butter and syrup obviously is not healthy. A vegetable omelet and side of wheat toast is, however. Instead of eating a pastry that is full of sugar, you can get a sweet fix from a bowl of whole grain cereal and fruit.
  • Portion control – Restaurants are notorious for having huge portions. Consider ordering a couple different dishes for the whole family and having a buffet. This way, everyone gets a taste, but the portions are not outrageous. Ordering extra sides of vegetables will help fill up space.
  • Take the extra to go – Another way to manage portions is to ask the server to pack up half the meal before bringing the plate to the table. This way you will not be tempted to overeat.
  • Munch wisely – Take healthy snacks with you when you travel. You can load up a cooler with fresh-cut veggies, whole fruit and snack-size bags of nuts to keep hungry travelers happy.
  • Treat yourself every once in a while – Do not be afraid to splurge a little while on vacation. Keep the portions small and share with as much as possible.

Eating right and exercise are two key elements to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is almost an epidemic in the United States. A smart eating strategy for the home and road will go a long way towards breaking that cycle.

What You Must Know About Breast Cancer

Lifestyle Changes

Certain changes in your lifestyle can help prevent the onset of breast cancer. If you drink alcoholic beverages, your risk of breast cancer is increased; limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage per day. Being overweight also increases your breast cancer risk. This is especially true, if you gained this weight following menopause. Try to incorporate some strength training and aerobic exercise, doing so will help control your weight while improving your immunity.

Studies indicate, that breast-feeding your baby and discontinuing therapy with hormones, may offer some breast cancer protection.

The good news is four out of five biopsied breast lumps are ruled noncancerous. However, following up with your physician is vital. This is not something you should disregard just because your chances are good.

No Increased Risk for Those with Fibrocystic Breasts

Fibrocystic breasts are common and refer to breasts with thick tissue and lumps varying in size. This condition affects both of your breasts and causes breast discomfort or pain to occur close to the onset of menstruation each month.

Over half of all women have fibrocystic breasts sometime during their lives. There has been no link between fibrocystic breasts and an increased risk of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer and Birth Control Pills

Previously, contraceptives had higher doses of estrogen, which slightly increased the risk of breast cancer. That said there is no evidence that the oral contraceptives available today increase your risk for breast cancer.
Monthly Self-Exam, Necessary or Not


Women have continued doing self-exams every month, for years now. Although some physicians and organizations continue encouraging this practice, according to research done by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), existing evidence is inadequate to gauge the positives and negatives, as related to the monthly self-exams. Because of this, the USPSTF recommends continuing to encourage women to do self-exams on a monthly basis at home cease.

Mammogram Screenings

Mammography remains to be the best tool available to spot breast cancer during its early stages. The majority of women with breast cancer have no identified risk factors or family history of the disease.

The guidelines of the American Cancer Society call for women 40+ to have mammogram screenings every year. Whereas, a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report from 2009, suggests that women begin having their mammograms at the age of 50. They also recommend the mammograms be performed every other year. If you do not know what you should do, talk with your physician and make your mammogram plan together.

The Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer starts in a cell. That cell divides and then multiplies at an uncontrolled rate. This small clump of cancer cells cannot be felt yet. Breast cancer in its early stages, will usually be symptom free. A mammogram can actually detect the cancer prior to it being felt, which is why mammogram screenings are crucial. Some benign breast conditions may seem like cancer; that is why it is good to know what the difference is. Have a health care professional check any worrisome lumps for you.

Other Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The classic symptom is a lump in the armpit or breast. If you decide to continue doing breast self-exams, here are some things to watch for:

  • A lump or swelling in your breast
  • Swelling in your armpit
  • Pain in your nipple
  • Nipple discharge (bloody or clear)
  • Pitted or scaly skin on your nipple
  • Retracted or inverted nipple
  • Unusual breast discomfort or pain
  • Persistent breast tenderness

Don’t Hesitate to Seek Help Immediately

Should you have any of the symptoms listed above, do not hesitate to visit your physician. Even with the breast self-exam, a mammogram plan, based on your age, should be put in place by your physician. If you choose not to do your monthly breast self-exam, be sure you get your mammogram done, as is, recommended by your physician.