It was a pleasure talking today with acclaimed author John Greenburg about his book: Stop Hurting Me, I Don’t Buy It. There’s great wisdom from his sports experience about handling the heat and heat related issues.
Training camp Football is held during the hottest months of the year and John Greenberg has written several books about college football. Managing heat related issues are a big part of football training which has given John quite a bit of experience in handling heat and hydration.
PG – Time was that some coaches wouldn’t give their players any water at all during training. The thought was that chugging lots of water would cause stomach cramps. Today we know how stressful that can be, especially when the temperature and humidity is high. When we talk about staying hydrating it doesn’t mean drink Red Bull or soda. It’s best to drink water and if it’s ice water, it’s better to sip it, instead of gulping it down.
EM – How often should people sip water in extremely hot circumstances?
PG – They have to know themselves and it also helps to have good eating habits. If you’re a vegan you have a much better chance of being hydrated than if you eat meat or poultry because Vegans eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and those items contain a lot of water. So they’re in a hydrating lifestyle, so to speak. Also if you eat a lot of fatty foods, spicy foods that can make it harder to withstand extreme heat.
EM – How does salt factor in?
PG – That can be used to keep the fluids in but that’s a tightrope. You don’t want to be packing much sodium into your diet. Our bodies are about 2/3rds water, so when we go through extreme heat, that percentage of our body diminishes and we’re not able to function the way that we should. Our brains can’t function properly and our movement is out of whack. This is why people can act out of sorts.
If you take in too much salt, you’re not going to do your blood pressure any good.
I know that it may sound draconian to tell people that it’s better to live on leafy greens and some salmon, tuna fish or snapper than to eat sirloin steaks, but this is a reality when you talk about going to places where it’s ninety degrees and seventy percent humidity. You have to prepare yourself so you can get the most enjoyment out of your traveling.
It’s supposed to be an adventure but there are always responsibilities with any adventure.
EM – But it’s hard sometimes if you’re traveling in a a foreign country for example you are going to be around foods that are different than you’re used to eating at home. You may not know all the ingredients and there may be a language barrier as well.
JG – If we’re talking about going to a place like the Middle East or say, Europe, English is spoken in many places. In Germany they drink a lot of beer, and eat a lot of heavy foods and that’s not really conducive to getting along well in very hot weather. You really have to stick with the basics. If you don’t know what an item is, especially certain types of seafood, certain things that are prepared with sauces and things like that, you really have to think about it. I’m sure that it’s not going to kill you to take a taste but don’t go overboard or you could just play it safe and stick with the vegetables and fruits.
You want to make the trip as enjoyable as possible and nothing can spoil it more than getting unexpectedly ill in a foreign country. A friend of mine was in Afghanistan and he passed a kidney stone. He was a civilian, a young man who was about nineteen years old and it was a critical situation to get treatment. He wound up going to a military hospital which was involved with NATO. It’s critically important to look out and plan for yourself when you’re traveling abroad.
Even in this country, if you make a trek from the Midwest to the Southwest or out to the West Coast, you prepare for it. If you’re fair skinned, you don’t sit out in the sun long or you put on sun block or else it could lead to something unpleasant for yourself and for the people you’re traveling with.
EM – That’s a really good point.
JG – Then you have to watch out for the air conditioning. The systems, especially in hotels and restaurants are often older. In real hot weather climates like South Florida and throughout the Southeast, the older the systems tend to collect mold. You’ve got to be outside and be active and get some ventilation other than sitting in a lounge somewhere and thinking that’s your vacation. There’s got to be balance.
EM – I think it’s also important to speak up if you’re uncomfortable. Be willing to change your seating in a restaurant or a theater for example. My parents once stayed in a condo in Branson and they didn’t have a lot of choices on changing the site. My mother ended up getting very sick because the air conditioning was stuck running full blast.
JG – The reason you get a cold in air conditioning is that your nostrils get dried out and and therefore your body has lost it’s immunity to the everyday bacteria that we run into. We as human beings are not set up to be in heavily air conditioned circumstances constantly.
EM – How about when you’re traveling by car in extremely hot areas?
JG – This all gets down to knowing yourself. There are people who can get into an automobile and sit behind the wheel and drive for literally hours at a stretch. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t push yourself and try to make time. That’s the worst mistake you can make because it could be fatal. If you know that you’re good for two or three hours behind the wheel, then you’re going to have to rest, get out and stretch and walk around a little bit. Not drink coffee necessarily, but water, walk around a bit and get back to it rather than saying you have to make it in one day. You don’t have to. It’s putting an unreasonable burden on you and can make you, your spouse and kids miserable. You may be making a terrible mistake that may be fatal.
EM – There are also problems with Deep Vein Thrombosis even for drivers. I’ve spoken with someone who ended up in the hospital on a five hour drive with a break on a drive they’d done many times. It’s just not worth it. As the author of Drivetime Yoga, I often tell people that you can take care of yourself – your back, shoulders, hips and sides of your body while you’re behind the wheel, if you’re very safe and aware and use small, targeted stretches and breathing techniques. It will make a huge difference.
PG – The best thing is to get out take a walk, get the blood moving all through your body and that will help you the most.
EM – Thanks for joining us. The name of Peter’s book is: Stop Hurting Me, I Don’t Buy It. In he explores the power of emotional pain and the connection it has to corporate marketing. The book is on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble Nook.
EM – I’m looking forward to doing some hot weather driving in humid conditions on Hawaii soon and will be using some of your suggestions.
PG – Be patient. Not every moment is enjoyable when you travel. Who enjoys going to the airport and going through security? When you have those moments of happiness on the trip, latch onto those moments and live in them.
Copyright 2011, Elaine J. Masters, Award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga books and audio.