Should I Wear Sunglasses When Exercising?

Do you often wonder why you don’t see more athletes wearing sunglasses when they are training and/or racing outside in the sun?  Some feel that the glasses are cumbersome and get in their way.  Others just have problems finding the right sunglasses that don’t slip on their nose, don’t fog and are the right weight for them.  Well sunglasses are just about as important as good running shoes if training outside on a regular basis.

Depending on the time of day you are exercising, direct sunlight can cause unnecessary strain on your eyes.  Sunglasses are a form of protective eyewear which protects ones eyes from bright light and damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR).  Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the natural radiation found in the invisible light spectrum. There are 3 ranges of UV: UVA, UVB and UVC.  Prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays can even increase the possibility of significant eye damage, including temporary discomfort to long-term vision problems such as cataracts.
Runners, cyclists, swimmers and walkers that exercise outside on a regular basis can face visual problems due to prolong exposure to sunlight if they are not wearing some type of visual aid.  Health professionals recommend use of sunglasses not only for protection against bright light and UV rays but also to prevent drying of retina and protect eyes from the entry of foreign body.
When selecting your sunglasses you will have a wide variety of lens tint options to suit your preference and outdoor lighting condition. Smoke lenses show the least amount of color distortion and are perfect for use in full sun conditions. Brown lenses are great for bright sunlight and enhance color.

AC (All conditions) Red lenses offer an enhanced view in cloudy or foggy weather. Red lenses will also provide contrast in mid to low lighting conditions.  Yellow lenses offer an extremely bright view in overcast or rainy conditions.

Clear lenses enable the wearer to have protection at night, or other extremely low lighting conditions. Although clear, the Tifosi clear lenses will still offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

CK SPORTS can help you find sunglasses that fit your face and that will meet your needs as a runner, walker or cyclist.   We carry the Tifosi brand ( the Italian word referring to a super-fan, an enthusiast) that have specific lens for your sport and provide you with various options as far as lens tint/color.   Their mission is to design eyewear for all sports and outdoor activities that include swimming, biking and running as well as golf, tennis and fishing to mention a few other sports.   These sunglasses (pictured in this article) are  lightweight and can fit all face sizes.

Stop in and try a pair on.  CK SPORTS is located at 121 and Custer in McKinney, Tx and we are opened seven days a week.

Endorphins Make Me Feel Good…

So what is an endorphin?  How do you explain or describe it?  

Well, Wikipedia’s definition is:

I will have a bowl of endorphins please

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being

ummmm…..what???  They are endogenous opioid peptides?   Okay then.  Lets start with an easy statement about endorphins.  They are supposed to make a person feel good – that simple.   Some people say it’s in our heads while others have done research and say it is a chemical released in our body that makes us happy, content, settled.  The articles side all over the place – they are not real, they are very real, research has proven, research has not “scientifically” proven…..so read on and you make your own decision.

For runner’s and/or endurance athletes they often are heard describing it as a “runner’s high”.  You know, that good feeling you get after a long run, a roll in the hay or a good laugh?  It’s not just because you’ve relieved exercise guilt, had a wham-bam orgasm or heard an absolute knee-slapper.  That elated feeling, which can last up to 12 hours for some people,also  has a scientific explanation.  It comes from a release of endorphins.   And it’s an “all natural” way of getting high.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.     This  feeling,  is often accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.   

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters referenced in the Wikipedia definition outlined in this article earlier.  The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines.  However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, family practitioner and author of  “Eat for Health” and “Eat to Live” notes that the science of endorphins-from-exercise is controversial, and that some medical professionals believe the positive feeling you get when you meet a physical challenge, rather than the exertion itself, is what stimulates the endorphin release. Several articles that were researched indicated that endorphins are indeed real and provide benefits to us that include:

Relief of pain
Enhanced immune system
Reduced stress levels
Postpone aging process
Modulated appetite
Lowers blood pressure
Influences calm or euphoric state of mind

 But whatever the cause and benefit, exercise has been proven to enhance the mood.  So lets not speculate any longer.  Get outside, find your sport and start feeling good……endorphin or no endorphin.  In Dr. Fuhrman also recommends prolonged activities such as cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis or a long cardio workout for the best effects. So try to catch an endorphin  see what cha think!  

References;

Endorphins 101: Your Guide to Natural Euphoria
Dr Joel Fuhrman; MD Family practitioner and author

Food For Thought…..

by Jeff Horowitz – Smart Training (excerpts also from Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal)

In case you missed it, an article in the Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal section of Novemebr 22, “Countdown To a Food Coma”, gave some unexpected support for running and other exercise. The WSJ reported that researchers had found that your body’s reaction to big meals can be an indicater of future heart problems. And interesting for runners, exercise immediately before a big meal — and a regular habit of exercising — can help insulate your body from this harm. Says the WSJ: “Th[e] post-meal recovery period is being studied by scientists who are increasingly finding that what happens in the body after eating a big meal doesn’t just bring on sleepiness, commonly known as food coma. It can also increase the risk of later health problems. “Everybody absorbs fats, sugars and other nutrients differently. These variations can provide clues about a person’s risk for common medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, research shows. Even in healthy people, cells that line the blood vessels temporarily function less efficiently after a person eats a high-fat meal.

“Researchers also are studying strategies for reducing risks in the period immediately after a meal, known as the postprandial phase. While going for a walk after eating might help digestion, for example, recent studies suggest that exercising 12 or more hours before the meal can prevent one of the most damaging effects—a post-meal spike in a type of fat called triglycerides.

One of the biggest tasks for the body after eating is to deal with fats in the blood. Cholesterol, particularly LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, infiltrates the walls of the arteries and forms plaques, which can block blood flow or eventually rupture, leading to heart attack and stroke. The condition is known as atherosclerosis.
     “Triglycerides, which typically peak after a big meal, are present in food and are also converted by the body from other nutrients, like carbohydrates. Triglycerides are particularly problematic because they are so good at penetrating the arterial wall.
    ”In a follow-up study, also published in JAMA, the research team found that testing for elevated triglycerides after eating was a better predictor of future heart attack than measurements taken while a person was fasting, which is the typical method during a checkup. Triglyceride counts after eating also were a more accurate predictor of stroke in women than were cholesterol measurements, according to a study published this year in Annals of Neurology.
     Light exercise like a slow walk, done continuously for 30 minutes or more, appears to reduce the peak in triglycerides that occurs after eating a meal some 12 to 16 hours later.
     It’s unclear exactly why there is a delay, but exercise induces a number of cellular responses that require different amounts of time before taking effect…Other research has suggested that the benefits of exercise on fat processing can last as long as 48 hours.
     The ideal is to be consistently active. But if people are more sedentary and want to time their exercise, it is best to take that long walk half a day before a big meal.

NUTRITION – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT AS PART OF YOUR TRAINING PLAN

Knowing about nutrition and what to eat is an extremely integral part of endurance sports.  What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your mood and running performance, so it is worthwhile to take some time and thought to what you put in your body when you want to perform well.  The most well planned and executed training plans can end quickly on race day if the athlete neglects any and all aspects of nutrition. That being said one can also get lost in the amount of information that is currently present in regards to what you should eat and how much.  Athletes can by overwhelmed with the amount of  information on television, magazines, race expos, training camps and the internet of so called healthy energy foods that over the years have become a multi-million dollar industry.

The simple truth is that the  foods that work best for most ahletes are the same ones our hunter-gatherer ancestors ingested: lean meats and fish from wild sources, vegetable protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables that provide whole carbohydrates and natural unsaturated fats found in nuts, fish and vegetables. Not only are these foods not processed but they are mainly alkaline in nature thus help fight inflammation in the body.

Once you are able to improve your lifestyle diet you can start incorporating training specific or race specific nutritional products such as sports drinks, gels, bars and other powders that provide training/racing benefits. The number of products in the market in this category is too many to mention in this article but CK SPORTS supplies a majority of the industry leaders. The key is to experiment with these products during training so you know they agree with your system and when it is necessary to take them.

In general you should incorporate the following points to help improve your nutritional habits:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they will provide you with most of your daily carbohydrates and they help keep body inflammation at a minimum.

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently which aids in proper digestion, doesn’t shock your insulin levels and stops you from over-eating.

  • Avoid saturated and trans fats as they increase inflammation in the body and are one of the causes of cardiovascular disease.

  • Eat lean protein as this will help you recover from harder workouts, promote lean muscle mass which burns the most calories and balances out blood sugar levels.

  • Avoid high-glycemic foods and drinks other than when your body needs them which is immediately before, during and after workouts.

  • Stay hydrated with water your main drink of choice.

  • Monosaturated fats such as olive oil, flax seed oil, canola oil and avocados are the healthiest fats to consume.

With all the information out there, if nutrition is a main concern for you, it is important to search out a qualified sports nutritionist who can help you make informed choices and limit those choices that are hampering your performance.

Some of the information in this article was provided by Dr. Jake Oergel; an accomplished Ironman triathlete who has competed in over 75 endurance events.