Tuesday, July 28, 2009


By Courtney Westlake

Whether it's 30 degrees or 95 degrees outside, staying hydrated is extremely vital to your well-being, and your body can become dehydrated during any time of the year, not just during the hot summer months.

"Hydration is more than just water; it's your fluid intake, meaning different beverages like soda, juice, tea, fluid replacement drinks like Gatorade," said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at TRAC. "You get your fluid intake from food as well. Food adds up to 20 percent of your daily fluid intake, and you should get about 80 percent of your intake from beverages."

Hydration affects the daily function of your body - your cells, your brain, your muscles, your heart, your temperature regulation and more, Jillson said. Your body is constantly losing water throughout the day, and the beverages and food that you consume are your body's primary sources of water.

It is recommended that women consume 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, of water through fluids and food each day, and that men consume 3.7 liters, or 125 ounces, daily.

It's especially important to drink fluids before, during and after exercise for hydration because you release fluids through perspiration, Jillson said. Before working out, you should try to drink between 14 and 20 ounces of water or fluids.

"Your muscles actually get dehydrated during exercise, so it's important to replenish your body with fluids to help with muscle recovery and to get your body back to its normal temperature," Jillson said. "If you're working out for more than 45 minutes at a time, then you need to start to replenish with more than just water. You need to replenish your fluids as well as your sodium, so that's where a fluid replacement drink such as a Powerade or Gatorade - something with electrolytes - helps."

Tips to staying hydrated include:
* have a beverage with every snack or meal
* eat fruits and vegetables, which have high water content
* keep a water bottle with you at all times

According to Jillson, all beverages aren't necessarily created equal, but all will help with hydration on some level.

"They are all fluids so they are all going to help to hydrate your body," she said. "Caffeine is believed to dehydrate the body, but according to a recent research study from the National Academy of Science, they have shown caffeine actually doesn't dehydrate your body. You don't want to get all of your fluids from caffeine, but it is OK to count soda and coffee as fluids in your daily fluid intake."

"But," she added, "when it comes to physical activity, water or fluid replacement drinks are definitely more beneficial than drinking soda or caffeine during exercise."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Burn those calories this summer!

By Courtney Westlake

Now's the time to take advantage of great weather and get outdoors to participate in fun, calorie-burning activities. Even activities you don't think of as exercise can keep you active, energized and burning calories.

"If you're used to walking or running on a certain road or path, get off road and go hiking," suggested Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at TRAC. "Hiking burns about six calories a minute. And make sure that you wear sunscreen and bug spray because a lot of trails are in woods and off road."

A typical exercise like jogging burns about 12 calories a minute, or you can pick up a jump role and "play like you are a kid" again, Jillson said, which burns about 12.7 calories a minute.

"Another great activity is swimming," she said. "Everyone loves to get in the pool, whether you're swimming laps or just playing in the pool with your kids. Swimming laps burns 10 calories a minute and playing around in the pool burns between six and eight calories a minute. So either way, you're going to have a great calorie-burning activity."

Summertime is also a popular time for weddings, reunions or just meeting up to go out with friends. So take advantage!

"You don't have to be Lady Gaga to just dance. So go dancing with your friends, with your family or just dance around your house by yourself or with your kids!," Jillson encouraged. "Dancing burns about three to five calories a minute so it's a fun, energizing activity to do during the summer."

Additionally, if the summer heat has you trapped inside, you can always come to TRAC.

"TRAC has some great opportunities for you - we have jump ropes, an indoor track, we have cardiovascular machines and strength machines," Jillson said. "You don't have to be a member either. We have memberships available, but we also offer a multi-use pass or you can purchase a daily pass for $5, so those are great opportunities for you to come use TRAC."