Health & Fitness Articles

Thanks for visiting my health and fitness articles page. These articles cover a variety of topics such as workout routines, general health, fitness, nutrition, chronic disease and anti-aging strategies. These articles are published in 5 local newspapers in Georgia and are uploaded here the following Monday after each print publication.
I wish you the best in health and fitness~
Wade Yoder, Master Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Human Radiator


 Definition of radiator: an engine cooling device in a motor vehicle or aircraft consisting of a bank of thin tubes in which circulating fluid is cooled by the surrounding air.

Human radiator: when we get warm, our body increases the blood flow outwards toward the skin so we can push out the excess heat through sweat and gasses. We have over 50,000 miles of arteries, arterioles and capillaries, so this system is a powerful one at pushing excess heat out of our body!

Our thermostat: the hypothalamus helps us keep our temperature within a tight range whether we need to warm up or cool down due to our activities (both internal and external) and our surrounding environment. A lot of this is handled by it switching primary directions of blood flow.

Our brain gets 20% of our blood flow, so it can easily detect an increase or decrease in temperature (in the hypothalamus) and it has mechanisms it uses to change direction of blood flow (shunting) as well as a capability to increase or decrease urine concentration to keep our blood volume steady.

There are some ways we can help keep this cooling system from getting overloaded and help prevent heat stroke and heat related fatigue...

Opening the air ducts: one of the best ways to help our body get rid of heat is to "not wear clothes that hold the heat in," this is good in cold weather but not good if you're trying to help your body with its cooling efforts. Anything we can do to cool the skin helps, "especially areas that have a lot of blood flow."

Keeping our radiator full: if we do not stay hydrated our blood volume will shrink, making it harder for our body to push the heat out to the skin for release through sweat and gasses. If your heart rate starts increasing (even though your work output has not) chances are that your fluid levels are getting low.

Cold water: drinking cold water is a good way to help ease the workload on our body's cooling system. Just like a warm drink helps warm our body when it's cold, cold water helps cool the body down. And because of the physiological effects of cold water in the body, it should be a source of energy on a hot day!

Electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride are very important electrolytes for maintaining fluid balance as well as many things that help our body function properly, and should be be gotten primarily through a balanced diet. However, using an occasional electrolyte supplement (such as a sports drink or electrolyte powder/tablet) for times that you sweat a lot, can be a good way to maintain a healthy fluid balance. I personally like the powder or tablet electrolytes over sport drinks, since most sports drinks have the unhealthy downside of additives that enhance taste but have little or nothing to do with electrolyte balance. 

Food: the type of food we eat can make a BIG difference in how we handle summer heat. Digestion takes a lot of blood and when we eat heavy, high fat/protein foods (that require more digestive energy), it makes us feel bad because of the body shunting blood flow away from the digestive tract to push excess heat out of our skin. These heavy foods will sit in our system like a block of wood until we cool off and blood can return to aid in digestion. "Fruits are a great food to eat when you're having to be out in the heat."

Example: watermelon is cooling, has high water content, is rich in potassium, has a considerable amount of calcium and magnesium, (add a little salt) and you have a pretty tasty source of electrolytes!

Our body has powerful capabilities of heating and cooling itself, but we can do some things that make its job much easier and when we do this, it can put the energy saved toward giving us more energy for doing the things we have to do! 




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