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?

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.



Why Tourists Buy Unique Souvenirs

You’ve seen the typical souvenir postcard that says “Wish you were here”. A unique souvenir from a place we’ve traveled helps us relive the journey over and over again.

The U.S. gift, novelty, and souvenir industry has a combined annual revenue of about $18 billion. Souvenirs (French for remembrance or memory), are an important part of tourism, especially local tourism. Tourists want unique souvenirs to take home to remind them of them of an experience they had or to give a gift to someone who wasn’t able to have that experience.

In Japan they have a strong custom of giving gifts of omiyage. In English that means souvenir, but it’s a little different than in the U.S. The person who is traveling will buy themselves unique souvenirs, but they buy omiyage for the people who weren’t able to make the trip. Non-food items are usually bought by the traveler for themselves, but omiyage is usually a food product that can be shared with others on their arrival back home. This is quite often given to friends and co-workers.

Souvenirs can be bought in a gift shop and could be something mass produced like a T-shirt, ashtray, magnet, water bottle, postcards, bowls or mugs. Or unique souvenirs could also be a local artisan craft product or something that represents the local culture of the area. Sometimes souvenirs can be a natural item such as sand or a seashell from a beach.

Memorabilia is a type of souvenir which is connected to an event. This could be a sporting event, historical event, concert or festival. These souvenirs are usually posters or clothing. Memorabilia can become quite valuable over time, depending on the event  and the item.

Just like any other industry, the souvenir industry needs to keep evolving and bringing in new, unique souvenirs to entice tourists to buy. Not only is it good for the local economies, but advertises the region to people who have yet to travel there.





Running Shoes for a Cause

Running is one sport that is almost entirely free to participate in for most people. We take for granted that a pair of running shoes can be bought for less than $50, depending on where you buy them.

But for some people in the world even that amount isn’t possible. Shoes for Africa was started after Mike Sandrock, a sports journalist, came back from a coaching and racing trip to Cameroon, West Africa. He noticed that a lot of the runners ran barefoot. And still beat him, by the way.

The Shoes for Africa project started with a group of runners in Boulder, Colorado, who began shipping new and nearly new running shoes to runners to needy children and athletes around the world.

The non profit has since become One World Running and continues to grow. They’ve also added tee shirts and running shorts to their packages. The group is now a 100% volunteer organization that has begun expanding globally to continue the mission Sandrock set out to accomplish years ago.

In 2001 the organization started putting on races to raise money for the charity. They continue to add more races every year with the money going to One World Running charities. They’ve also recently added soccer cleats and baseball equipment.

Most of the shoes come from donations from individuals and from running clubs and organizations such as the Girl Scouts. Many people have shoe drives to collect new and nearly new shoes for One World. Most of the shoes are in usable condition, and those are the ones shipped to Africa. But even the running shoes that are not in good condition can still be recycled. Those are shipped to NIKE to be ground up and made into running tracks and playgrounds. This is done through Boulder’s Eco-Cycle program and the Reuse-a-Shoe program.



How Runners Can Be More Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly means doing minimal harm to the environment. By buying more eco-friendly products and utilizing methods that will save energy and lessen pollution you can become a better steward of the planet. So exactly how can runners do their part to be more eco-friendly?

For a runner to be more eco-friendly they have to take into account everything from the clothes they wear to run in to the distance they have to go to for a race to the type of water bottle they use. This may take a little planning, but it can be done and the planet will thank you for it.

  • Choose local races – Yes, it can be more fun to travel to the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon, or even to an international race, but it will also increase your carbon footprint. Whenever you can, choose to run in as many local races as you can. To find them contact local running stores and local running clubs. Both will have a good handle on what’s going on in the neighborhood when it comes to races.
  • Find eco-friendly marathons – If you scour the Internet you can find races that have made it a point to be more eco-friendly. They are using green materials, local produce, and instead of throwing away food, they are donating it to help feed the homeless. Runners also donate some of their slightly used shoes and clothes to Goodwill.
  • Don’t drive – Runners are being encouraged to either take public transportation or to carpool with other runners. You not only will be saving the planet, but you’ll be saving money on gas.
  • Bring your own water bottle – Many marathons are cutting down on the costly and wasteful paper cups that end up littering the race path. Some marathons are setting up huge drinking fountains where runners can fill up their water bottles and be on their way without wasting paper cups.
  • Eco-friendly clothes – Many runners are trading their synthetic running fabrics for more organic and green fabrics.

The trend towards more eco-friendly marathons will help educate runners about different ways they can be more eco-friendly .


Why You Should Use Fun Promotional Products at Marti Gras

The biggest event for New Orleans is by far Marti Gras. In 2000 the amount of money generated for the city reached a billion dollars. A lot of the tourism for New Orleans revolves around Marti Gras. I mean, the event is huge! In any given year the average crowd for Marti Gras is anywhere from about 700,000 to over a million.

There has also been a long standing 300 year tradition not to commercialize the event. That is still pretty much the case as far as having no advertising on the floats and other restrictions. But if you want to get your brand noticed by almost a million people in a week, there are still some ways around it.

Fun promotional products are a great way to get your brand noticed at Marti Gras without violating the no advertising rule. Nobody can tell you you can’t wear a T-shirt with your brand’s logo on it. Having just one person wearing a T-shirt with a logo might not stand out in the crowd. But if you had a whole group of people wearing T-shirts with a brand logo it just might attract attention. Of course everyone will be wearing a costume, so you would have to get very clever with the way you display your logo. If your company has a mascot of some sort, you could use that as your costume.

Give away fun promotional products like bottle openers, lighters or keychains that people will keep and use. Give them away at one of the many private parties you’ll find in pretty much any given neighborhood. Give them away to people who are hosting parties. Give them away as prizes. If the fun promotional products are something they will use during Marti Gras and keep afterwards, you have a winner.

You can’t carry an open glass container on the street, but you can wear your booze on your wrists and fill them up at a local bar with your favorite drink. swiggies, wrist water bottles aren’t just for water. Companies have put their logos on them for student orientation week and pub crawls. Hash House Harrier groups around the world fill up swiggies with beer and use them as a beer carrier when going from keg to keg.

Marti Gras is a multi-million dollar party where everyone is in the mood for fun. If your brand is fun and you want to reach a million fun party goers, think about using some unique promotional products at the next Marti Gras celebration.




Make Running Fun For Kids

Kids are like adults. They need variety to keep them from getting bored. This is true for running too. So if you want kids to be interested in running so they will want to keep it up you have to make running fun for kids. And that means adding plenty of variety to their running program.

Get them warmed up with some stretching exercises and some simple games like Red Rover, Red Rover, Red Light, Green Light, and Simon Says. Start out slowly with short distances and move up to longer ones.

Create an obstacle course for them by putting items like cones at strategic distances. Turn it into a fun game for them.

Make it a cross training course by alternating running with climbing, hanging and balancing.

Run with your kids. They like to imitate adults and will do what you do. But pay attention to make sure you don’t overwork them. Little kids can usually only run for a few minutes at a time.

Work in some relay runs in there with continuous and three person relay runs. Some kids running programs also have scavenger hunts. This is another way to break up the running and make it fun for the kids.

Help them to create a goal like running a kids fun run and help them stick to it. Train with them. Gradually build up to better timing.

Whenever your kids achieve a goal, reward them with a healthy snack.

Encourage kids to do their best, but let them progress in their own time. If they enjoy it they’ll stick with it. And if not, don’t force it. Let them find another activity they are really interested in.

Simply running around a track might be enough for adults, but for kids try to mix things up a little.