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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Water: The Free, Delicious Drink You’re Not Getting Enough Of

waterWater is everywhere but where you need it: inside your body. Do you ever check to see how much water you actually consume a day? How much do you need? The old adage “8 times 8 ounces a day” (or 64 total ounces) is off. Just like everything we know about different body types and metabolism, the amount of water each of us needs will vary. It makes sense that in hot, humid conditions you will sweat more, thus needing more hydration. But do you realize that your hydration levels will dry up in the dry, cold weather of winter, too?

To get a good idea of how much water you need, take your body weight and try to consume that many ounces of water a day. Yes you can count the coffee and tea you drink, but remember that the caffeine will cause you to lose more water. You may be saying, “YIKES, that’s a lot!” But look at the questions below. If you answer yes to one or more, you need to be paying more attention to the amount you take in.

1. Do you talk a lot during your day?

That takes hydration. Since your brain is about 75 percent water, you need adequate water to fully function.

2. Are you stuck in a weight-loss plateau or have found you cannot budge the scales?

Try drinking more water to get your body functioning smoothly, breaking down fat for energy after your tough interval workout, and helping to rebuild the muscles you broke down. This beats your dehydrated body slowing your metabolism and making weight-loss more frustrating than ever.

3. Do you get hungry soon after eating?

It could be hydration issues (it could also be a gluten crash, but we’ll leave that for another day). As you eat protein-rich foods, your body needs more water to break down the protein, so be sure to add more water as you add more protein to your diet.

4. Do you get headaches after a long, stressful, busy day?

Try drinking water to help alleviate your pain. This may be your body telling you that you are dehydrated. See this article about a study that shows how your brain is much more efficient when you drink enough water.

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As you increase your water consumption, of course, you will need to make numerous trips to the restroom, but your body will realize you are doing a good deed for it and adapt. That is more proof of what marvelous machines our bodies are.

You can see what water can do for you to enhance your body’s efficiency and smooth running. If you are looking to slim down, improve both brain and body performance, and help ward off disease and bugs, add more water to your day.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, NIFS Small Group and Personal Trainer. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: nutrition weight loss hydration water

Race Day Nutrition: Before, During, and After

You have trained for the marathon, half-marathon, triathlon or other race, and now it’s the big day! However, you need to make sure you are properly fueling your body with optimal nutrition to guarantee that you will cross the finish line feeling great! Here are some tips to ensure that will happen.

Before the Race154039075

It is essential to have carbohydrates before racing. They provide the best source of energy for your body and give the most efficient fuel for working muscles. Examples of these are whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain breads, cereals, bagels, oatmeal, and fruits and vegetables.

Protein helps with sustaining energy for longer periods of time. A small to moderate amount of protein-rich foods is essential before exercising. Examples include skim milk, 1% milk, or low-fat chocolate milk; low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat cheese; boiled eggs; peanut butter; yogurt; a small amount of nuts; lean meat, poultry, or fish; and soy products. Fat is stored in the body and is used as an important energy source. It is especially important for endurance athletes, such as runners.

Try to avoid high-fat foods because they may slow digestion. Examples of high-fat foods are crackers, chips, snack cakes, or muffins. Instead, opt for healthy sources of fat such as peanut butter, nuts, and olive oil.

Eating sugary foods before a race may cause side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can have a major effect on your race! You might think you get that burst of energy from the sugar, but the energy will peak quickly and will not last for a long time. Avoid pastries, donuts, and high-sugar cereals.

Drink 2 to 3 cups of fluids such as water, 100% juice, low-fat or skim milk, or a sports beverage two to three hours before the race, and then 1 more cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes before the race. A small amount of coffee (6 to 8 oz.) may be an option, but be sure that it settles well in your stomach.

During the Race Gels

Drink at least 1 cup of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise (24 to 48 ounces per hour for most people). For every pound you lose during exercise, consume 2 to 3 cups of fluid. It is always good to calculate your sweat rate during training to know the proper amount of fluids you need to be taking in during the race. This can be done by weighing yourself before a workout and immediately afterward.

Water is always an excellent choice during the race, but for durations of longer than 60 to 90 minutes, it is important to take in some type of sports drink. Sports drinks provide a mix of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Electrolytes are lost in sweat during the race, which is why sports drinks help replenish electrolytes in the body.

It is important to intake the proper amount of carbohydrates during the race. Consuming carbohydrates should be a goal during the race to help increase endurance; 60 to 70 grams per hour is recommended. Good options for getting in carbohydrates during the race are sports drinks, energy bars, GUs, gummy blocks, and Sport Beans. If you prefer consuming an energy bar during the race, it is important to consume a bar that is high in carbohydrates, but low in protein and fat. Make sure to take in 4 to 8 ounces of water with the gels or the energy bars to prevent an upset stomach. Consider how your body digests these different items. Go with the item that digests well for you and will help you stay at your optimum performance level. Always practice with these products during training and never try something new on race day.

After the Race

Here are some tips for recovering after the race:

  • Aim to consume a 200- to 300-calorie snack within 30 minutes of finishing the race.
  • Rehydrate with 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during the race.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal that includes protein, fluids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.455658863
  • Aim for 15 to 25 grams of protein to be consumed within 30 to 60 minutes after the race.
  • Take in at least half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within the first hour after the race.
  • Have salty snacks and sports drinks to help with replacing electrolytes, if it will be 3 to 4 hours until your next well-balanced meal.

Remember that training with certain foods is just as important as the physical training for the event! If you need help, consider a personal nutrition coaching session from NIFS.

If you are interested in having your questions answered during a personal nutrition consultation, please contact me at ascheetz@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239. Learn more about Nutrition and Wellness services at NIFS.

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This blog was written by Angie Sheetz, NIFS Registered Dietitian. Read more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition running marathon training triathlon cycling half marathon hydration endurance

Summer Health Tips and Fitness Ideas

Summer is finally finding its way back to Indiana! If you haven’t already, it is time to get outside and get moving! Indianapolis provides an abundance of outdoor activities that work well for promoting healthy lifestyles.

Indianapolis Attractions for Active Fun

Here are five ways for people to be active in Indianapolis this summer:

  1. ThinkstockPhotos-185469754web.jpgPerhaps the hottest attraction promoting physical activity in downtown Indianapolis this year is the new Indiana Pacers Bikeshare. With 250 bikes around the downtown area at your disposal, enjoy a day of physical activity and sightseeing in downtown Indianapolis by renting a bike and taking it for a spin on one of the local trails. I personally enjoy riding the Cultural Trail down to Fountain Square, among the many trail options available right downtown.
  2. Rent a kayak and enjoy some time out on the water while earning some physical activity points! Kayaking is an excellent form of exercise that can be learned easily at any age and enjoyed at varying levels of fitness. If you have never been kayaking before, do not be intimidated. Kayaks are available to rent around the city, including in Eagle Creek Park.
  3. Try a triathlon! Any age is a good age to try a triathlon for the first time. Here at NIFS we host a training program geared toward completing the Eagle Creek Sprint Triathlon for women both new and veteran to the sport. One of our participants was 68 years old when she completed her first triathlon with success!
  4. Take your kids or grandkids to the park and play. Being active with young children is great for everyone and is an excellent way for you to sneak in some physical activity. Consider that you may not be able to keep up with all of the moves that the kids are doing and stay within your capabilities while participating in the activities that they are doing.
  5. Consider training for a road race! You don’t have to be a top-notch runner to go out and try to run or walk your first 5K or marathon. NIFS is hosting a marathon training program geared toward completing the monumental marathon for those of you who have ever considered running a marathon. It is never too late to check that goal off your bucket list!

Health Tips to Keep in Mind

Being active in the outdoors during the summer adds another level of concern that you should keep in mind when selecting and preparing for your outdoor fitness activities.

  1. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your time spent outdoors. With the heat and humidity that come along with the Indiana summer, your body will lose the water that it needs at a rapid pace. Drink-waterDehydration can lead to heat illnesses, so it is important to stay hydrated and drink water even if you do not feel like you are thirsty. Read more about this in our 5 Tips to Staying Hydrated While you Exercise this Summer blog.
  2. Be cautious of extreme temperatures and avoid being outside for extended periods of time during these times. Hot temperatures can be dangerous, even if you are not exercising, so save your outdoor physical activities for later in the evening or earlier in the morning when the temperature is cooler and the sun is not beating down on your back.
  3. Wearing clothing that is lightweight, light in color, loose fitting, and moisture wicking will help you to stay cooler in warmer conditions.
  4. Apply sunscreen when you know that you will be outside. Whether you are working in the yard, walking the dog, or playing a round of golf, the sun has the same impact, so apply sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

NIFS new Fall Marathon Training Program begins July 20th-November 2. Get Registered Today!

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Topics: NIFS staying active fitness center triathlon NIFS programs summer hydration Indianapolis

5 Tips to Stay Hydrated While You Exercise This Summer

It is finally summertime! You are looking out of the window from your office and can hardly wait to get outside for your workout after work or on your lunch break. Unfortunately, summer comes along with hot and humid conditions that can have a terrible effect on your body if you have not properly hydrated.476485117

It is important to consider the effects that the sun and warmer temperatures can have on your body and your performance, and to be sure to get appropriate hydration. The heat index chart, which shows where the combination of heat and humidity becomes dangerous, is a great resource in determining whether it is a good idea to go outside to exercise.

Here are five helpful tips to keep you hydrated and healthy as you exercise outdoors this summer.

  1. Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest hours of the day (generally between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.). This will make for a more comfortable training session and decrease your likelihood of becoming dehydrated.
  2. Carry water with you during your workout. Not only should you drink water in the few hours leading up to your workout, but you need to be drinking water during the workout as well. It is recommended to drink a cup of fluid every 15 minutes during your exercise session.
  3. Replace the fluid that you have lost. A good rule of thumb is to drink two cups of fluid for every pound that you lost due to water loss during the activity. If you have weight-loss goals, don’t be fooled into thinking that the weight you lost during the workout is a good thing. It is just water weight.
  4. Recognize if you are dehydrated. There are many symptoms that determine if you are becoming 153736610dehydrated, including feeling thirsty, tired, or dizzy; having a headache; and having dark-colored urine, to name a few. If you start to experience these side effects, you must rehydrate yourself before the situation becomes a medical emergency. Do not try to continue exercise if you feel you are becoming dehydrated!
  5. Be aware of hyponatremia! This occurs when you are consuming more fluid than you need during an activity, resulting in a low level of sodium in the bloodstream. Consuming a sports beverage rather than water during endurance activities can be beneficial to you if you experience this.

If you are looking for a half or full marathon training program for this fall, consider joining the NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program. It is geared toward preparing individuals to complete in the Monumental Marathon on November 7, 2015 in Indianapolis.

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This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise summer hydration endurance outdoors safety