Stay Hydrated. You can lose 20 to 48 oz of water per hour during intense exercise.

Running in summer requires extra precautions, hydration

By Grant Gensheimer — Special to the Herald-Leader

Foot-race season is here, and many of us will take to running outside. Whether you are a seasoned runner or planning on running your first 5K this summer, there are some precautions to take to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

These occur when the body’s own temperature regulatory system becomes inadequate at keeping the body cool.

There are two mechanisms the body uses in the attempt to keep from overheating. The first is one we are all familiar with — sweating. The evaporation of sweat from the surface of the skin helps to cool the body. Only the sweat that actually evaporates from the skin has a cooling effect. All that extra fluid dripping off you during your hot summer run is essentially wasted water.

Sweat can have a hard time evaporating when the humidity level is high, making it all the more important that you take the time to adequately rehydrate.

In addition to sweating, the body will also increase blood flow to the skin in the attempt to lose some of the extra body heat to the cooler environment. While this can help in the cooling process, it has the unfortunate side effect of reducing some of the blood flow to the working muscles. That’s why your two-mile jog that may have been easy in May might become much more difficult in the heat of July or August.

When the temperature outside is higher than that of the body, this method of cooling becomes much less effective. Seek a cooler, shaded area a few times throughout your workout, and try to run in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day.

When starting a running program, or doing any type of physical activity outside remember these tips in order to stay cool and safe:

■ Give yourself time to get acclimated to the summer heat. Start off running in short, easy bouts and slowly progress. It usually takes around a week of daily exposure for the body to make the necessary adaptations.

■ Stay hydrated. The body can lose anywhere between 20 and 48 ounces of water per hour during intense exercise.

■ Take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area.

■ For intensive and/or hot training sessions lasting more than an hour consider drinking fluids with electrolytes such as a sports drink.

Increasing levels of nitrates in the water for some areas of California….

Do you have nitrates in your drinking water?

BY WATER QUALITY ASSOCIATION (WQA)
Drinking water contaminated with nitrates made national headlines recently when a University of California-Davis study predicted the presence of nitrates in drinking water will intensify in the years to come across California’s Salinas and Central valleys.

While the Davis’ study hones in on California’s nitrate problem, nitrates impact water quality across the United States.

What are nitrates?
Nitrates form when microorganisms break down fertilizers, decaying vegetation, manures and other organic materials. Principal sources of nitrate contamination include animal waste, fertilizers and septic tanks.

How are nitrates regulated?
Nitrates are regulated in the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. The law authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine safe levels of potentially harmful chemicals in drinking water. These levels are called Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG). The EPA sets the MCLG for nitrates at 10 parts per million (ppm).

Where are nitrates a problem?
Nitrate is a tasteless, colorless and odorless compound that homeowners cannot detect unless they have their water chemically analyzed. Municipalities are required to test water sources for nitrates annually and keep nitrates at safe levels. Homeowners with private wells should use a certified laboratory to test their water for nitrates and other contaminants on an annual basis.

Why is it important to regulate nitrate levels? 
Although nitrate is necessary for human and environmental health, high concentrations in drinking water can be harmful. Read more…

Hard Water, Calcium Build-up and High Energy Costs

Icky calcium build-up and high energy costs are just 2 of the many annoyances associated with hard water.

Save money and help the environment by checking on your water quality

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
(ARA) – Bruce Farrar didn’t like what hard water was doing to his home.

“Our dishes in the dishwasher were terrible,” says Farrar, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. “The inside of the dishwasher was just covered with calcium. Also, our showers had glass doors and I had to put a special cleaner on them because of the calcium buildup.”

But the problems didn’t end there. Hard water was also preventing the family’s clothes washer from functioning properly, requiring the use of more soap and hotter water, which increased Farrar’s grocery bill and energy costs. The added energy needs were also putting more wear and tear on his hot water heater, decreasing its lifespan.

Nearly 90 percent of American homes have hard water – water containing high levels of calcium and magnesium, according to The U.S. Geological Survey. The hardest water is commonly found in the states that run from Kansas to Texas as well as in Southern California. How can you tell if you have hard water? If your shampoo and soap don’t lather up like they should, if you see scaling on your pipes and showerheads or if you have nasty brown rings in your sinks and toilets, your water is probably hard.

To know exactly how hard, and what to do about it, you should have your water diagnosed by a water quality professional.  Read more…