DR. BETTIE

DR. BETTIE: Resuming Training After an Illness

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 in DR. BETTIE, Uncategorized

DR. BETTIE: Resuming Training After an Illness

Welcome to Dr. Bettie’s Corner, your local expert in nutrition, fitness, and health! This is a bimonthly forum where we attempt to address Woman-focused topics of interest. We welcome your suggestions & questions! Please contact us with yours.   Resuming Training After an Illness   We are right in the middle of cold and flu season, which means you are bound to find yourself sidelined at some point due to illness.  How do you best take care of yourself when illness strikes and safely resume your training once you start to feel like yourself again?  Dr. Bettie is here to help!  I recently found myself taken down by the flu.  What I thought was just a little sniffle turned into a high fever and body aches and I found myself down for the count.   Do not try to run with a high fever.  Recovering from illness in and of itself places a lot of demands on your body.  Your body and immune system is working overtime to fight the virus.  Work on resting and staying hydrated.  By resting now, you will allow your body the time it needs to heal and you will be able to get back to your training sooner.  Your body heals more quickly with less stress.  Also focus on eating high quality foods and getting plenty of sleep.   Once your fever breaks, that means your body is on the mend, but it does not mean you should jump right back into your training plan,  After your temperature and eating has returned to normal, give your body at least one or two additional days of rest before resuming training.  And when you do run again start with easy effort runs.  As a rule of thumb, do one easy effort run for each day that you were sick before resuming high intensity workouts.  Listen to your body,  Even though you may feel better, your immune system is still working on rebuilding itself.   If you find yourself struggling with a minor cold, which includes only light sniffles and no fever, it is still okay to run.  In fact, some studies have found that people with minor colds have actually felt better after exercising.  So there’s no need to derail your training for a runny nose, but listen to your body and stop if you develop a fever or chest congestion.   Finally, do not despair if you do find yourself having to take a few days off for an illness.  You will not lose a lot of fitness by resting for a few days and your body needs the rest more than it needs the running when you are sick and fighting an illness.  Take it easy and resume running gently so as not to overstress your body and risk the return of illness.  The investment you make in resting your body will be worth it, as you will find yourself back on the roads and trails in less time.   Here’s to good health and happy running!...

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DR. BETTIE: Winter Running- Is the Weather Outside TOO Frightful?

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 in DR. BETTIE, Uncategorized

DR. BETTIE: Winter Running- Is the Weather Outside TOO Frightful?

Welcome to Dr. Bettie’s Corner, your local expert in nutrition, fitness, and health! This is a bimonthly forum where we attempt to address Woman-focused topics of interest. We welcome your suggestions & questions! Please contact us with yours.     Winter Running: Is the Weather Outside TOO Frightful? It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year.  (I mean, seriously hard to believe.)  And nobody hates cold weather more than Dr. Bettie.  (Pretty sure.)  What can we do to survive these harsh days?  Here’s a short list of advice, which I hope will help. The gear.  There is no shortage of advice on this, with posts already available on Coach G’s main blog.  A bullet summary: Windstopping shell, upper and lower.  I find the more cash I shell out for the quality, the less crap I have to layer up.  Lots of name brands to choose from, but probably anything geared toward running, with “windstopper” on it, is decent.  (I personally love North Face, but I had to promise that nobody needed to buy me anything for a couple of Christmases as a result.  Nuff said.)  Outer vest is also an option. Base layer.  If the weather is 15 degrees or warmer, I find the windstopper suit with a light sweat-wicking shirt inside is enough (like those underarmour, polypro type deals).  If it’s colder, an extra layer of tights and slightly thicker upper layer is helpful. Something with Merino wool is particularly effective; there are multiple thicknesses available. Extremities.  Hat and gloves, duh.  May consider doubling the gloves when it’s less than 15 degrees.  I’ve also noted that fluffy hats (with no windstopping ability) kind of suck when the digits are single outside; ear muffs could help here, or better yet, one of those ski hoodies that also includes neck/face/head coverage.  And lastly, don’t be a ding-dong and get all suited up only to put on your regular cotton socks and shoes (like I did last week – brr!)…. Throw on the smart wool socks, or the like.  Otherwise, I do NOT feel that “snow running shoes” are necessary, and the usual running shoes will suffice. Extra comforts.  Gators are kind of nice if you are trudging out on ungroomed trails.  If it’s actively snowing outside, don’t forget the viser/hat with brim – snow in the eyeballs can be annoying and somewhat painful. Safety.  Those yaktraks are a swell idea.  I just bought some.  And of course, try to run close to home or have a backup plan (cell phone etc.) if something goes poorly. General rule.  Stepping outside and feeling cozy?  Step back on inside, take off a layer, and try again.  (You overdressed.) Indoor warmup.  This is a great way to get your core warm, which may take longer than usual in the chilly outdoors – and may help you feel a little better just getting started.  Nothing crazy here, just a few pushups, situps, maybe a few jumping jacks should do the trick. Consider changing your stride – just a little – in the snow.  This is for obvious safety reasons, with questionable footing and potential room for slippage out on the wintry trails or roads.  Shortening your stride will keep you more compact and stable, with less potential to tweak a knee or wipe out. And finally… When is it too cold to run outside?  Everybody has their own personal threshold.  From a health/safety standpoint, I have seen colleagues claim that even 20 degrees below zero is “okay”.  (If you’re completely nuts, that is.)  My own threshold is “double digits”, but sure, I’ve gotten out there in...

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DR. BETTIE: Staying Motivated During the Fall and Winter Months

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 in DR. BETTIE, Uncategorized

DR. BETTIE: Staying Motivated During the Fall and Winter Months

Welcome to Dr. Bettie’s Corner, your local expert in nutrition, fitness, and health! This is a bimonthly forum where we attempt to address Woman-focused topics of interest. We welcome your suggestions & questions! Please contact us with yours.     Staying Motivated During the Fall and Winter Months   Q: Dear Dr. Bettie, I just finished my big fall race, now what? How do I stay motivated to train during the fall and winter months?   A: First of all, congratulations! It’s a huge accomplishment to complete an event that you have trained for all summer. Hope it was a great experience for you! Make sure you take some time off after the race to let your muscles fully recover. I recommend that you take a full week off of running after racing a full or half marathon. Just like tapering before a big event, recovery after the big event is also important.  While you are resting, remember to stretch, drink lots of water and eat plenty of dark leafy greens to aid your recovery.  When you do resume running, start with easy runs and gradually resume speed runs, hill runs, and longer runs.   Fall and winter is a great time to work on strength training and shorter, speedier type races.  Here are a few upcoming local races that you might be interested in: November 15: Cross Country Meet in Eagle November 27: Boise Turkey Day 5k December 20: YMCA Christmas Run And to really power and motivate you through those dark, cold months of winter, you may want to pick a longer spring race to focus on.  Race to Robie Creek or the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon, perhaps?   When logging all of those winter miles, remember to run safely in the dark.  I recently learned a trick of wearing not only a headlamp on my head but a light clipped to my waist as well.  The second light makes a huge difference with depth perception on the trails!  And don’t forget your reflective gear.  Remember to stay off muddy trails, and as the roads and trails become snowy or icy, you can run with Yaktrax attached to the bottom of your shoes for more traction over the snow and ice.  Speaking of snow and ice, winter is a great time to incorporate some different cross-training activities such as nordic skiing into your routine. Finally, running with others makes running in the dark and cold both safer and more fun, so if you are still on the sidelines, please come join us soon for a run and enjoy running through the fall, winter and well into next...

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DR. BETTIE: Drink Up, Buttercup: Staying Hydrated for Half and Full Marathons

Posted on Oct 1, 2014 in DR. BETTIE, Uncategorized

DR. BETTIE: Drink Up, Buttercup: Staying Hydrated for Half and Full Marathons

Welcome to Dr. Bettie’s Corner, your local expert in nutrition, fitness, and health! This is a bimonthly forum where we attempt to address Woman-focused topics of interest. We welcome your suggestions & questions! Please contact us with yours.     Drink Up, Buttercup: Staying Hydrated for Half and Full Marathons   We all know (or should know) that staying hydrated is important but what is the best way to go about staying hydrated during long runs and races (half marathon distance or longer)?  Below are some tips: Hydration should not begin the morning of a long run or race, but sooner.  At least 48 hours before the endurance event we should be making efforts to stay well hydrated.  Try to sip fluids throughout the day during the days leading up to your long run or race. The American College of Sports Medicine has recommended drinking 5 to 12 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during a marathon.  However, this is often difficult to accomplish and may result in over-hydration depending on how much you are sweating (not to mention too many detours to the port-a-potty).  The best thing to do is experiment with your own personal hydration needs during your long runs so that you will be ready for race day.  Every runner is different and hydration needs will also vary depending on the weather, heat and how much you are sweating. After a long run you may want to check your weight to make sure you have not lost more that 2 percent of your body weight.  Also be sure that your urine is not too dark.  These are signs that you have become too dehydrated and that you need to hydrate more before and/or during your run. To hydrate just before a half or full marathon, try drinking two 8 ounce glasses of water or sports drink two hours before the start of the race to give your body enough time to absorb and digest all of the fluids. Wear a hydration belt to ensure that you will always have fluids available.  Fuel belt and Fitletic both make good ones for running. You will also need to replace electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) lost while sweating during long runs and races.  If you are not eating gels periodically or taking an electrolyte tab to replace lost electrolytes, then you may wish to consider drinking a sports drink instead of water. But be careful not to take in too many electrolytes and/or gels.  If you are only drinking a sports drink, dilute it half and half with water.  There are several recipes for homemade and natural versions of sports drinks available online such as this one: mix ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 ½ to 2 cups fresh water (depending on how strong you want the flavor and/or how diluted you need the drink to be), ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt, and 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey, to taste, and viola!, you have your very own sports drink! The gels are great for fueling during half marathon and marathon racing (and thus you need to practice using them occasionally during your half marathon and marathon training) and also on training runs over two hours, but be careful not to use them too frequently.  You generally want your body to use fat and glycogen stores for fuel rather than carbs from the gels. Don’t forget to rehydrate after a long run or race to replace the fluids that you have lost.  Your body needs them.  Being dehydrated causes your blood...

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DR. BETTIE: The Whole Grain and Nothing But the Grain

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 in DR. BETTIE, Uncategorized

DR. BETTIE: The Whole Grain and Nothing But the Grain

Welcome to Dr. Bettie’s Corner, your local expert in nutrition, fitness, and health! This is a bimonthly forum where we attempt to address Woman-focused topics of interest.We welcome your suggestions & questions! Please contact us with yours.   The Whole Grain and Nothing But the Grain One of our athletes asked recently why many of us were raised on white rice and other refined grains when there appears to be much better alternatives out there.  So I thought I would take a quick look at the history of refined grains in America and the benefits of whole grains for runners.  I was raised in the south on sandwiches made of Wonder Bread, the quintessential bleached-white sliced sandwich bread.  In the 1930s, Wonder Bread was the darling of the culinary world.  It was one of the first sliced breads and its whiteness was seen as an indication of its cleanliness and purity: signs that it had been manufactured by a machine rather than dirty human hands.  Indeed, Wonder Bread and other refined white grains like it were signs of the future! Not to mention they were fast and convenient! Remember those fun TV dinners? Oh wait, did someone say nutrition?! Health? Glycemic index?  Perhaps these were not on the forefront of our parents’ and grandparents’ minds when they were caught up in the excitement of these new time-saving foods. So let’s talk about whole grains.  When you take a grain such as wheat- which you use for bread- or rice in it’s whole form, it is full of vitamins and minerals.  When you start to refine that grain (grind and/or bleach the wheat for flour or strip the rice) you begin to lose some of the nutrition.  On the other hand, you also make it easier for the human body to digest.  Some grains are tough on the body and if we ingest them in their natural form they would go right through us and we would not get a lot of the nutrition anyway.  So a little refinement is okay.  But the further away we get from the natural state of the grain, i.e. the less “whole” the grain is, the less nutrition we are getting. Let’s take a look at this interesting study that was done with obese adolescents with oatmeal in order to compare instant oatmeal and steel-cut oats.  To make steel-cut oats the oats are sliced a couple of times so that the oats can cook, however, the the structure of the oat kernel is maintained.  Instant oats are more processed.  However, the food’s calories, fiber and carbohydrates are the same.  Both groups of adolescents were given the same amount of food, but the group given instant oatmeal saw a much higher rise in blood sugar than the steel-cut oats group and were hungrier a few hours later.  This difference was caused only by the form of the food that was ingested, not the actual food itself!  So it may be worth it to take the extra time to make those steel-cut oats in the morning! What about shopping for breads, cereals and other grains?  Look for whole grain cereals that have some fiber and protein.  The fiber and protein help slow the digestion process.  Just because bread is brown does not mean it is not overly processed.  Read the labels and make sure it is made with “whole wheat” flour and not “enriched” flour.  And don’t be afraid to try other varieties of whole grain breads such as buckwheat, rye and oat.  Peanut butter or any other nut butter on a slice of whole grain bread makes...

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DR. BETTIE- Cardiac Problems in Endurance Athletes

Posted on Aug 20, 2014 in DR. BETTIE, Uncategorized

DR. BETTIE- Cardiac Problems in Endurance Athletes

Welcome to Dr. Bettie’s Corner, your local expert in nutrition, fitness, and health! This is a bimonthly forum where we attempt to address Woman-focused topics of interest.We welcome your suggestions & questions! Pleasecontact us with yours.   Cardiac Problems in Endurance Athletes   We all know that exercise is good for your heart.  It decreases blood pressure, lowers blood cholesterol, maintains healthy body weight, and diminishes your risk of developing chronic diseases including diabetes mellitus.  But are there instances when exercise – specifically, endurance exercise such as distance running – may be harmful?  I grit my teeth as I painfully type the word “Yes”…  But, yes.  Even if your brain and your spirit crave that morning glide through the heathery foothills, there may be a few things to think about before pronouncing to the world that THIS is THE BEST way to maintain a happy heart. The scary stuff.  These are the unpredictable, and often inherited, problems that result in sudden death.  It can include structural problems with the muscle of the heart itself (e.g., hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), valve problems (e.g., aortic stenosis), electrical problems resulting in abnormal coordination of the pumping action (e.g., Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, long QT syndrome), or plumbing problems where the blood supply does not get to the muscle normally, creating an oxygen deficit (known as congenital anomalies of the coronary arteries).  Fortunately, they are uncommon.  But for those that do have these problems, endurance exercise is more or less forbidden. Athlete’s heart.  It is well recognized that the heart muscle experiences structural changes with exercise, commonly observed as a global thickening of the main pumping chamber.  (Not surprising, considering that structural changes with every other muscle in your body occur with exercise as well.)  Historically, this has not been considered a bad thing, and has been shown to reverse after training is discontinued.  However, there has recently been a body of literature that suggests some of this remodeling effect observed in high level athletes – which specifically includes enlargement of the one of the upper chambers of the heart – may serve as a nidus for an annoying, though usually not life-threatening, rhythm problem known at atrial fibrillation.  The data are not perfect here, but multiple studies from several countries have replicated this association, and the increased risk appears to be pretty substantial (2-10x increased risk). Is this You, you may ask?  Well, the answer is, we just don’t know.  “High level” has had multiple definitions: 3 hours or more per week of intense training, 1500 lifetime hours of endurance exercise, being within the highest category of a large population polled, or simply just participating in a couple of long distance events (marathons, the Tour de France, cross-country ski races…  Who cares, those crazy endurance people are all alike anyway, right?!).  To say the least, the optimal dosing of frequency and intensity of endurance training has yet to be determined.  And to add insult to injury…  We don’t know the risk among women, as they have been underrepresented in these studies. Are there other risks?  The main risk with atrial fibrillation includes stroke.  However, most athletes have few risk factors that make this a major concern.  Talk to your doctor. Gimme some good news?!!.  Low to moderate amounts of exercise show NO such association with atrial fibrillation.  Among those afflicted, detraining may help – a few weeks off, then a couple of 3-4 mi runs per week may be tolerated.  Lastly, there are effective medical therapies also available. When to worry/seek help.  If you experience chest discomfort, unusual breathing trouble, sudden exercise intolerance, and/or lightheadedness with exercise,...

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