Summer Heat Can be Deadly

According to the Center for Disease Control, heat kills more people than tornados, lightning and floods alone. And they are urging people to stay cool and hydrated this summer. Every year an average of over 600 deaths occur due to extreme heat in the United States. 40% of all heat-related deaths come from California, Arizona, and Texas.

I learned first-hand how dangerous summer heat can be when I passed out from dehydration in the middle of a summer heatwave while out running. I thought I was drinking enough water before I left the house, but I wasn’t, especially in the middle of a heatwave. Since I didn’t have any way to carry water, I was trying to drink enough to last for a 30-40 minute run. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, until I found myself passed out by the side of the road. Luckily a Good Samaritan took me to the hospital in time.

This is when I came up with the idea for the wrist water bottle. It supplies 11 ounces of ice cold water to keep you hydrated and it also lowers your body temperature because it’s on your wrist. Drinking a few sips of cold water every few minutes is enough to keep you cool and hydrated.

The summer heat can be especially hard on children and the elderly or anyone with a serious medical condition such as MS. People with MS need to always make sure they are keeping their body temperature down in order to prevent a flare-up of their symptoms. There are numerous cooling products for MS sufferers.

Other things you can do to cool down besides staying hydrated is to wear lightweight, breathable clothing such as cotton, linen, and silk. Keep the air conditioning on and limit your exposure to the outdoors to the early morning and later afternoon hours.

Summer heat is a perfect reason to get outside and get active as long as you avoid overdoing it and keep cool while you’re out there.


Fidget Spinner Inventor

If you don’t have kids you might not have heard about fidget spinners. Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze that’s being marketed for kids with ADHD and autism. But it seems like even kids without ADHD are buying them.

Fidget spinners have two or three blades attached with ball bearings to a button in the middle. When you squeeze the button and spin them they continue spinning between your fingers. Some say they calm or distract the user, but many schools are banning them for being more distracting to the kids around them. Some people, including teachers, think they are a good solution for distracting fidgety students. Some think kids could be better occupied by keeping their minds on other things.

As an inventor, what makes me sad is that the woman who invented the product isn’t profiting from the craze. Getting and maintaining a patent can be a very expensive endeavor. Hettinger’s patent was issued four years after it was filed and came up for renewal in 2005, but she wasn’t able to afford the $400 that was required to renew the patent, and protection for it lapsed.

After getting her patent she met with toy company Hasbro, and they turned her down after their market testing of it failed. But they have recently begun selling the new version of the product. This just goes to show you that, as an inventor you should never give up on your idea, even if everyone turns you down. If you build the product into a fad, trust me, those same people will come around.

Like all inventors, Hettinger was a problem solver. She was inspired after hearing about young boys throwing rocks at police in Israel, and wanted to come up with a way to calm and distract kids.

In the beginning she started manufacturing the spinning toys herself in her home with a used machine she bought from a sign maker, and sold them at local fairs in Florida.

Even though she isn’t making money off of her invention, she’s not bitter. Like all inventors she knows she can always put her problem solving brain to work on the next big thing.



Simple and Easy New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

Another new year, another set of New Year’s fitness resolutions. This is when all of the weight loss commercials begin. It’s relentless. No matter how many of them I see, it doesn’t phase me. I learned that putting too much pressure on yourself to force big change never seems to work for me. So, instead, I just set small, attainable goals that I know can be kept. Here’s a way to slowly meet those goals during the course of a day and never let yourself down:

  • Incorporate walking into your day – I know I have to walk the dog every day, so it’s easy to just add a few blocks of extra walking every time we go out. Dogs are the perfect personal trainer and companion. Find a park near you and start exploring. There are always other people in the park walking their dogs, and it’s a good conversation starter to meet new friends. Double up with other dog owners and commit to walking your dogs together. Having a walking partner holds you accountable. You will always tend to walk longer if you have someone else with you, and it helps to pass the time. Your dog will love you for it.
  • Take the stairs – Like dog walking, taking the stairs is a free and easy way in incorporate more exercise into your day. It’s just a matter of becoming aware of how often you take the elevator or escalator. In the course of a day there are numerous opportunities to take the stairs instead. You’ll burn calories three times faster than walking on a flat surface, and it’s a great way to improve your energy. If you have time, find a place where you can go up and down the stairs a few times and keep adding to it to increase your strength and improve cardiovascular.
  • Dance – I’m not talking about going to a formal dance class, although that’s great too, but simply dancing for fun during the course of a day. Again, it’s just a matter of becoming aware of doing it and making it a part of your day. Put on some upbeat music you like and dance your heart out. Take the drudgery out of cleaning by using the vacuum cleaner as your dance partner while you crank up the tunes. Yes, it sounds crazy, but who cares? It’ll also put you in a much better mood while you easily burn calories. Dancing for no reason will also put others around you in a good mood. Try it!

Dehydration and Allergies – Is There a Connection?

If you’ve ever had allergies you know how miserable they can be. And the antihistamines you have to take to keep them under control are just as bad, making you drowsy and loopy. During allergy season I have a cabinet full of every all natural solution I can find. Since I was taking so many pills, I had to drink a lot more water with them.

I noticed that when I drank more water the allergies seemed to get a little better, so I was wondering if there was any kind of connection between dehydration and allergies.

It turns out that when you’re dehydrated, histamine increases, and decreases when you increase your water intake. You also need proper salt intake. Water and salt are two of mother nature’s strongest natural antihistamines. Elevated histamine triggers your thirst response and so does salt.

I had always heard that salt was bad for you, but after I started looking into adrenal and thyroid problems I realized I needed much more salt than I was getting.

Sea salt can help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. Salt is also very good for your adrenals, especially if you also have thyroid problems. After increasing my salt intake I’ve noticed a big difference in both.

During the hot summer months it’s even more important to make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated, especially if you are prone to allergies.

If you stay hydrated your body is better able to react to allergens and it won’t have to produce its own histamines because you don’t have enough water to stay hydrated.

It’s estimated that at least 80% of the population is in a state of chronic dehydration.

If you are prone to allergies, make sure you are constantly drinking enough water throughout the day. It’s much better to reach for the water bottle than the anti-histamine!


Power Walking

As a runner, walking was always something I resorted to only if I was injured or recovering from an illness. But after giving my joints a good pounding over the years, I was willing to try power walking. It’s not the same as running, but better on your knees.

Speed walking, race walking, or power walking, however you label it, isn’t a gentle stroll. It’s walking at the fastest pace you can, which is typically between 4.5 and 5.5 miles an hour. You hit the ground with less than half of the force that you would if you were running. Studies have shown that at this pace you burn about as many calories as someone who is running at about the same speed.

Power walking may be looked down upon by the hard core runner, but it actually is an Olympic sport and has been since 1906. In Olympic race walking, the front foot must be on the ground when the back foot is raised. And the front leg must straighten when making contact with the ground.

If you’re not headed to the Olympics, but still want to get a good power walk in, you can be less formal about your style. But one thing that’s important is using your arms to give you more power and speed.

Having flexible, but lightweight shoes will help you pick up your pace.

Swing your arms in an arc from your waist to your chest while keeping them close to the body. You’ll also build upper body strength by doing this.

Keep your head held high and your stomach tucked in. This helps support your spine and keeps your posture in line.

If you know your current walking heart rate you can use it as a guide to help you set goals and improve your walking speed.

It may take some getting used to if you are used to running, but it’s a great alternative, and is probably a good idea to try every so often.

Why Runners Need Yoga

Every time I end up with a running injury I’m reminded that I really need to stretch. Not just that perfunctory stretch I pretend to do that probably just makes things worse, but a long, range of motion, stabilize the body type of stretch. I can almost feel the muscle tightness, but never take the time after a run to really get those muscles back in shape.

Though it may be hard for type A runners to slow down long enough to maintain a downward dog, it makes good sense to incorporate yoga into your running routine if you want to improve your running technique.

Here are 3 reasons why runners need yoga:

  1. Yoga strengthens your core – A stronger core helps keep your body stable while you’re running and decreases your chances of being injured. Yoga is a complete, total body workout that works the outer body and inner body at the same time, protecting your internal organs. It works both the large muscles in the body and the smaller ones, targeting the respiratory, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems. Yoga uses your own body weight to make you stronger. It also stabilizes your back and neck.
  2. Improves breathing – Runners who do yoga ensure more oxygen is circulating throughout the body. Yoga targets the upper, middle and lower portions of the lungs, something running doesn’t incorporate. Yoga gives you increased lung capacity, which improves both endurance and running performance.
  3. Increases flexibility – There are several ways runners can increase their flexibility, and yoga is one of those. Yoga is great at increasing your range of motion and helping to prevent injuries. Yoga stretching allows you to extend your muscles through their full range of motion, actually making it easier to run. And what runner doesn’t want that?!

I’ve always resisted yoga as being too slow and boring, but if it can help make my running faster and easier, I’m ready to give it a try. What about you? Are you a runner who swears by yoga?

Top 10 Reasons You Need swiggies, Wrist Water Bottles

10. Never needs winding

9. Rum in the left, Coke in the right

8. Won’t sprain your back like that 5 gallon Sparklett’s bottle

7. Safer than kissing Shamu

6. Makes a lovely parting gift

5. Cheaper than gold bracelets

4. It’s better than coal and switches in your stocking

3. More fun than a big gulp

2. Easier than fly fishing

And the number one reason you need swiggies:

1. They’re good, clean fun!

Water Bottles for Runners

With so many water bottles for runners on the market, how do you decide which one is right for you? I’ve been asking runners of all types, from casual weekend runners to seasoned pros, and they all have something different to say about what kinds of water bottles they carry while running.

In the beginning, when I first came up with the idea for swiggies, wrist water bottles, I was running in the peak summer heat in Texas and ended up passing out from dehydration because I didn’t carry any water with me. I was running with my keys and music, so carrying a water bottle while running wasn’t possible. I knew there had to be a better way.

At the time the only alternative for hands-free water bottles was the old fanny pack. I tried running with one that had a water bottle in it and it bounced around while I was running. The harder I ran, the more it bounced. This is when I came up with the idea to create a water bottle design that was very simple to use and very readily accessible no matter how fast I was running.

It took a while to design a prototype that was light enough and didn’t have too much weight on my wrists, yet held enough water to last for a run under an hour. I also figured out that they could be frozen to lower body temperature while out in the heat. To this day, this is what many professional runners and other athletes use swiggies for when they do smaller training runs.

Since I invented swiggies, other water bottles for runners have come out on the market. It may be that runners need different types of water bottles for different types of activities. I use a Camelbak if I’m going for a long, extended hike. And a sturdy, regular bottle that you carry is fine for activities such as kayaking, where you have a place to store it.

Now it seems the front water bottles for runners, vests with pockets for water bottles in the front are coming onto the market. Again, a different type of water bottle to give runners more choices.

I have read through running forums and asked runners which they prefer. The answers are all over the map. But the bottom line is that you have to have enough water while running, especially in the heat. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Earth Day and Reusable Water Bottles

Every year Americans drink about 29 billion bottles of bottled water. Even though bottled water can cost thousands of times more than tap water, we seem to be addicted to it. In fact Americans spend about 11 billion dollars a year on bottled water. Sometimes it makes sense to use single use water bottles, like in disaster relief or for outdoor events, but most of the time we can help to cut down on the use of single use water bottles by carrying our own reusable water bottles.

The recycling rate for the single use plastic water bottles is quite low. Over 2 million tons of single use plastic water bottles will end up in the landfill. That’s about four out of five single use water bottles that will end up in landfills. And the plastic single use water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to completely decompose.

The water bottles that are recycled will be turned into new products such as playground equipment, carpeting, fleece clothing, and new containers and bottles. So, if you do use the single use bottles, recycle them and put them to good use.

Many parks and events are now providing filling stations for people who bring their own reusable water bottles to fill up. This will definitely save you plenty of money as single use water bottles at events, vending machines and parks can become quite costly.

There are also many restaurants that have stopped serving bottled water and instead have opted for filtered tap water.

Since Earth Day is coming up this week it’s time for us to be reminded again that we can all make a small difference by using reusable water bottles. If you don’t want to do it for the planet, then at least do it for your wallet. Think about the amount of money you’ll be saving by using reusable water bottles.



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