Can you do too much exercise?
FIT TIP: Beware of over-training! Many people have a great attitude to reaching their health and fitness goals and dedicate a large amount of time to them, but there is such a thing as too much exercise. The greater the intensity and duration of the exercise, the greater the recovery time needed.
Purely aerobic exercise (5 minutes of continuous exercise or longer) has the least effect on the body’s metabolism, and as such there really is no ‘too much exercise’ here. Go for it!
However, if you’re like me, you want the most out of your exercise sessions. But this means a lower frequency of these sessions per week. Strength training, for example, should allow at least 48 hours recovery (or up to a week depending on the system you use).
Here are some signs to watch out for:
- decreased strength or performance during exercise
- loss of appetite
- constantly dehydrated
- restless sleep
- loss of concentration
- lower energy levels
If you think you may exhibit one or more of these symptoms, review your exercise regime and cut back if required!
Foods to inflame, and foods to fight inflammation
FIT TIP: Your immune system attacks anything in your body that it recognises as foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. The process is called inflammation. Intermittent bouts of inflammation directed at these threatening invaders protect your health.
However, sometimes inflammation persists continuously, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation can become your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.
Not surprisingly, the same foods that contribute to inflammation are generally considered bad for our health. The following list contains foods that should be avoided:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- Margarine, shortening, and lard
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. The following list contains foods that can help reduce the risk of inflammation and actually reduce current high levels of inflammation:
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts like almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
Choose your diet wisely. In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural and less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health!
How to deal with heat while exercising
FIT TIP: Wow what a summer so far! The sky is blue and the wind is light, and the temperatures are up around the 30 degree mark.
This is quite clearly going to have an effect on exercise. So how do we deal with it?
Obviously, the first options would be to exercise at the cooler times of the day. Between 6-8am or after 8pm. Choosing a lightweight, breathable fabric for your clothing will help a lot too.
But what if you need to exercise in the hottest parts of the day? If you play organised sports, or if you can’t change your routine, then you need to find a better way to deal with it!
During high intensity exercise in the heat, your core body temperature can increase by about 1 degree every 5-7 minutes. We can’t tolerate our core temperature being elevated past 40 degrees for very long. As such, the body is forced to dissipate heat effectively or reduce exercise intensity. In sport, the team that reduces intensity the least (or is the most effective in causing their opposition to keep playing at an intensity that is above their capacity) will be the one that runs out the matches the strongest.
This is a complicated area but essentially the body functions best in a core temperature range slightly either side of 99.5 degrees fahrenheit. Ice baths and ice vests certainly make us feel cooler but they actually do very little for cooling the core. They trick our brain into thinking our body is cooler. This enables us to keep working but at the risk of overheating because we continue to cook from the inside.
The most effective way we’ve found to date of cooling core body temperature is consuming slushed ice drinks. This was a common strategy in the Football World Cup in Brazil last year.
Particularly common is a sports drink slushie. The liquid needs to have a reasonably high sugar content (about 9%), otherwise it doesn’t slush, it just freezes.
You can buy these drinks ready to go (Frozen Coke) or make one yourself (Powerade in the freezer!). Use these drinks to deal with the heat and keep on exercising!!