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5 Tips for Ditching Dehydration

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Thirst. Dry Mouth. Parched. We all know what this feels like because we’ve been there—dehydrated, fatigued and feeling ourselves slow down before we’re truly ready to stop.

Adequately hydrating your body is key to optimal training and performance; whether you’re a competitive athlete, gym enthusiast, runner, cyclist or weekend warrior, if you’re not hydrated, everything from your recovery to your results will suffer. More than 70 percent of your body weight, and 80 percent of your brain is made up of H2O, making water a critical part of not only your ideal training protocol, but your healthy lifestyle in general. Our energy levels are greatly impacted by our intake of water. It has been medically proven that just a 5 percent drop in body fluids will cause a 25-30 percent loss of energy in most people. It is also estimated that more than two-thirds of all people do not drink nearly enough water and suffer daily from some degree of dehydration.

Unfortunately, many people turn to stimulants like caffeine, sugar and artificially jacked sports drinks or novelty energy boosters that are available everywhere, from your gas station to your grocery store. These are all strong diuretics that actually cause your body to lose water and dehydrate more quickly.

So how do you know if you are dehydrated?

Some symptoms include: lack of stamina and endurance, muscle cramping, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, lack of sweat, increase in core body temperature, stress, nausea and of course, thirst. Also dark yellow urine is a telltale sign, so take a peek before you flush. The clearer, the better. Here are my top five tips to ditch dehydration and increase your energy and performance:

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Health

11 Do’s & Don’t’s of Dealing with Your Anger

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11 Do’s & Don’t’s of Dealing with Your Anger

Written by Marta Ustyanich  |  Photo by Peopleimages

Losing your cool at the slightest provocation? Protect your chill vibe and your physical health with these strategies for constructively dealing with anger, courtesy of psychologist Harriet Lerner, bestselling author of The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships (2005).

1. Speak up when an issue is important to you. While you don’t need to address every irritation or injustice that comes along, if the cost of staying silent is becoming bitter or resentful, it’s best to make your feelings known.

2. Strike when the iron is cold. Avoid speaking up in the heat of the moment when you’re feeling angry and intense. If you feel your temperature rising in the middle of a conversation, try saying, “I need a little time to sort out my thoughts. Let’s set up another time to talk about this.”

3. Take time out to think about the problem and clarify your position. Think clearly about what you want to say, how to say it, and when. Angry confrontations only invite the other person to become defensive and see you as the problem.

4. Don’t use below-the-belt tactics. These include blaming, interpreting, diagnosing, labeling, analyzing, preaching, moralizing, ordering, warning, interrogating, ridiculing, and lecturing.

5. Use “I” language. Say, “I think,” “I feel,” “I fear,” “I want.” A true “I” statement says something about you without criticizing or blaming the other person, and without holding them responsible for your feelings or reactions.

6. Keep it short and kind. It’s powerful to say, “I left our conversation feeling like a smaller person who disappointed you,” and leave it at that. This takes more courage than lecturing or criticizing the person for being insensitive or disrespectful.

7. Appreciate that people are different. If you’re fighting about who’s right or wrong, you may be missing the point. Different perspectives and ways of reacting do not necessarily mean that one person is right and the other wrong. Don’t tell another person what they think or feel, or what they should think or feel.

8. Recognize that each person is responsible for their own actions. Be angry at the right person. Don’t blame your mother-in-law because she’s overbearing and oversteps boundaries, for example. Setting—and maintaining—clear boundaries is your and your husband’s responsibility.

9. Stop trying to convince others that you’re right. If the other person isn’t hearing you, simply say, “Well, it may sound crazy to you, but this is how I feel,” or, “I understand that you disagree, but I guess we see the problem differently.”

10. Never use text or email to express your anger or to process an emotional issue. Confrontational texts or emails will only send a conversation downhill swiftly. No exceptions.

11. Don’t expect change to come about from hit-and-run confrontations. Change occurs slowly in close relationships. If you make even a small change, you will be tested many times to see if you really mean it.

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How Exercise Can Help (and Hurt) You During Flu Season

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Written by Rachel Debling

That familiar nip in the air can only mean two things: pumpkin spice everything, and cold and flu season. When sickness hits, it can make even the most ardent exerciser change her tune, opting to lie in bed with instant noodles with the same gusto she had in the gym the day before.

Tempting as it may be to succumb to the bug and hole yourself up in your room, health expert Brent Bishop, a trainer with the Evolve Functional Fitness virtual training platform (and rep for the Canadian vitamin brand Jamieson), stresses that the same health tenets you abide by most of the year pay off even more when the weather starts to get chillier. As your immune system comes under attack, clocking enough hours of sleep each night, chowing down on certain foods, and performing the right type and intensity of exercise can help your body fight off the microscopic enemies trying to lay claim to your health. Here, we share Brent’s expert advice for staying fit as a fiddle this flu season.

Move More? Maybe Not.

While you know that your immune system is fortified in the long run by working out regularly, there are instances when it can be further worn down by intense exercise. “That’s why [many] marathoners, for example, get sick a few days after running a race,” Bishop points out. Still, he believes the good far outweighs the bad. “People do use a cold as an excuse not to work out—but it doesn’t have to be that way,” he says. “As a matter of fact, a lot of people feel better after working out.”

So how do you know if you should get moving or stay in bed? It turns out that the old rule of thumb—“below the head, stay in bed”—is pretty sound, according to Bishop. If you’ve got pains and tightness below the neck like coughing and wheezing, you’d be best to take a rest day or two. But if you have normal signs of what many refer to as a head cold (sore throat, sinus congestion), Bishop says you’re probably okay to get in some light movement. “It’s all about less intensity, less duration,” he says. The only exception is a fever, another sign that you need to take it easy.

Even if you are adamant about wiping down benches and equipment after you’ve left your sweaty imprint, there are plenty of other places in which germs can hide. “Things that have the most germs are dumbbell handles and barbell handles. Benches are usually less of an issue because there is a layer of clothes between you and the surface,” Bishop explains, adding that weight plates are also forgotten breeding grounds of bacteria. In addition to wiping every surface before and after you use it, Bishop suggests carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer (many now come with clips that can easily attach to your keys or belt) and wearing weightlifting gloves to add another barrier between yourself and germs.

Bishop is an advocate of the healing power of foods, both before and during cold and flu season. Herbs like echinacea and ginger, for example, whether in pill form or fresh, have long been believed to help your body fight against unwanted invaders. And don’t discount the power of the most popular immune booster of the modern era, vitamin C. Believe it or not, citrus fruits aren’t the only—or even the best—source of this nutrient that the grocery store has to offer: broccoli, Bishop points out, actually has more vitamin C per serving than oranges or lemons.

Supplements can also help you get to the 1,000- to 2,000-mg dose of vitamin C that Bishop recommends striving for. All-in-one formulas (such as Jamieson’s Cold Fighter Chewable) make it easy to get ginger, zinc, echinacea, and vitamin C every day for consistent therapy. Plus, “It’s never too late to start taking it,” he notes.

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Five Benefits of Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating (also known as intuitive eating) is the practice of eating while giving attention to how food impacts your thoughts and sensations. In today’s society, it’s not uncommon for people to eat in their cars, at their desks, or in front of the TV, rather than sit down to a proper meal with family or coworkers. This mindless and disconnected way of consuming food causes us to eat quickly and mindlessly, which can lead to digestive issues as well as overeating and weight gain.

Over the last 20 years, research has proven that practicing mindful eating helps manage food intake, but its benefits go far beyond weight loss. Here are five lesser-known benefits of mindful eating:

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