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August's Wellness Topic: Digestive Health
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Arlene Dalcin, RD
Digestive Health

The Dog Days of Summer
by Arlene Dalcin

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Southern Oregon it is HOT! I’m talking in the 90s, day in and day out. It makes me think of the phrase, “dog days of summer” – a term that goes back to the ancient Romans and Greeks. They believed that the star Sirius, the “Dog Star,” which is seen in the early morning sky during the late summer months, was responsible for the blistering July and August temperatures.

I’m not sure who or what’s to blame for the weather outside today; it’s sweltering! Even so, I decided to walk to our local coffee shop for a cold drink and some mid-day exercise in the heat. No matter what the mercury level reads, I still need to make time to move my body. Before venturing out in the summer sun to burn some calories, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Make water your beverage of choice. Its calorie free!
  3. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks; unless you’re running a marathon, they provide the body excess calories that are stored as fat.
  4. Drinks that contain caffeine, a natural diuretic, actually deplete your body of fluid.
  5. If you do opt for a coffee pick-me-up, avoid blended and specialty drinks. They are loaded with sugars and fat.
  6. Don’t forget, your fluid needs are influenced by:
    • Your salt intake
    • How much you sweat
    • Medications you take
    • Clothing material
    • Intensity of the exercise

When the tar on the road is bubbling and you’re ready for the kids to go back to school, a brisk morning walk may be just the ticket to keep you cool, calm and fit during the dog days of summer. And if you’re out early enough you might even catch a glimpse of Sirius!

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