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How To Help Your Pets And Wildlife Stay Cool During The Final Month Of Summer 

Rising temperatures around the world are impacting pets and wildlife greatly this year. Pet owners are doing everything they can to keep their furry friends cool and safe for the remainder of the summer, but it’s important to think about the wildlife animals that are also enduring this heat. 

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a wildlife conservatory based in the UK, which is currently experiencing heat waves and droughts due to the heat this summer. An RSPB spokesperson recently discussed the best tips for keeping pets and wildlife safe throughout the rest of this summer.

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Many water sources throughout the world have begun to dry up due to extreme temperatures, causing multiple species of wildlife to become dehydrated. 

“A garden pond, no matter what size, benefits wildlife all year long, but is especially necessary in the heat. But even a shallow dish of water will help,” the spokesperson explained

“Some animals and birds will want to bathe and cool down, others just to drink, so keep it topped up with clean water and refreshed daily. Add pebbles or some kind of ramp around the edge of any water source to help the smallest creatures climb in and out.”

Dry conditions also cause a lot of vital food sources to become scarce, so the RSPB recommends putting out small quantities of food for wildlife. 

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“Putting out fruit and seeds will help, in small quantities but often, to avoid it spoiling. A bowl of dog or cat food (not fish-based) at night will help small animals. It’s essential to keep anything clean that you’re putting out – whether it’s a feeder or an upturned bin lid of water, as diseases can spread rapidly with different animals using them and in the heat.” 

“We  advise giving bird feeders a clean once a week with soapy water and emptying bird baths daily,” the spokesperson continued. 

If you have the garden space, let plants and trees grow as much as possible to provide multiple shade options for wildlife and your pets. 

“Shade is great for us, for our pets and certainly for our wildlife. A log pile will help lots of creatures to find a cool corner, from tiny woodlice to frogs and toads, as will longer grass. Avoid pruning and tidying up areas where leaves and branches are providing more shade,” the spokesperson explained. 

For your pets at home, make sure you’re consistently providing fresh water. Ice cubes are a great “summer treat” for dogs as well. 

If you happen to find a wild bird or mammal that seems to be in distress due to the heat, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center for the best possible care.

Athlete Drinking Power Drink

Electrolyte Supplements Don’t Actually Prevent Dehydration, Study Suggests

According to a new study, the electrolytes that we all thought were keeping athletes hydrated and healthy during extensive periods of exercise shouldn’t actually be relied upon exclusively for that purpose. In general, beverages like Gatorade are meant to be ingested during high-endurance workouts, sports games, training etc. and its expected to help athletes keep their negative sodium levels low, and hydration levels high as a means of preventing serious illness brought on by overall strain to the body. 

A recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine focused on a group of 266 professional marathon runners who were participating in RacingThePlanet, which is known as an extreme sporting event that requires participants to run 155 miles over the course of a week. The route for the marathon is known to go through rough terrain and various deserts. Researchers from Stanford University, who performed the study, were focusing on something known as hypernatremia; which is basically a fancy term for when the sodium levels in your body are too high, or low, resulting in dehydration. 

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The researchers were focusing specifically on exercise-associated hyponatremia, or EAH, which is caused by a massive increase or decrease in sodium levels in the bloodstream as a result of physical activity. While a decrease in sodium levels may seem like it would have the opposite effect of dehydration, there are certain sodium compounds that are necessary for keeping our hydration levels balanced and body systems functioning to the best of their ability. 

EAH is a big problem amongst athletes, as it doesn’t just cause traditional dehydration symptoms like dizziness, headache or exhaustion. EAH can lead to an altered mental state, seizures, fluid to build in the lungs, and in some cases, death. The research found that things like hot weather can obviously increase the chances of an EAH associated illness from occurring, but it also concluded that the use of sodium and electrolyte supplements, like Gatorade, does little to prevent any EAH symptoms, contrary to what we’ve all thought. 

“In the past, athletes were told to make sure they’re taking electrolyte supplements. It was generally thought that that would prevent things like muscle cramping, electrolyte imbalances and dizziness. But there is currently no evidence to show this is true. Most electrolyte strategies end up with a drink that has a lower sodium concentration than what is found in the body. This is why drinking too much electrolyte solutions can result in EAH,” said Dr. Grant Lipman, the lead author of the study.

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The study itself included 61 women and 205 men, and researchers monitored each individual as they ran the RacingThePlanet course. The races took place over the course of two years at alternating times, most of the athletes competed in weather hotter than 93 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The process was quite simple, yet specific: data was collected from the athletes at the beginning and the end of a 50-mile portion of the race. Beforehand, each athlete was weighed and had to report what type of electrolyte supplement they were taking and what their overall drinking/hydration strategy was. The researchers needed to know how often they would be taking their supplements and drinking.

Once they finished the 50 miles, before they could hydrate or rest, researchers weighed them again and asked how closely they followed their hydration regime that was discussed beforehand, the team also took blood samples from everyone to get some more cellular data regarding the sodium levels in each athlete’s blood. 

The results showed that 41 of the 266 participants had notable sodium imbalances in their blood, 30 were considered to be dehydrated, and 11 had EAH. The conclusion based on these results worked to prove that while electrolyte supplements may promote themselves as hydrating, there really is no direct link to show that they prevent any sort of illness.

“Electrolyte supplements are promoted as preventing nausea and cramping caused by low salt levels, but this is a false paradigm. They’ve never been shown to prevent illness or even improve performance, and if diluted with too much water, can be dangerous. The takeaway is to listen to your body, no matter what sport you are participating in, and particularly pay attention in the heat,” Lipman concluded.

Water Glass

Drinking Water Should Be The First Step In Your Morning Routine

We all have our own specific morning routine. Typically we brush our teeth, eat some breakfast, wash our face, get dressed, and grab a cup of coffee for the long day ahead. However, as if we didn’t already know how good water was for us, studies show that having water first thing in the morning is one of the best things you can do for your body to get it through the day.

As we sleep, obviously we’re not drinking or eating, so if you think about it simply, you’re going hours upon hours without hydrating yourself. If it was daytime and you went an entire eight hours without having a sip of water, you’d likely feel the effects. Our bodies are dehydrating as we sleep because all of the water that we consumed throughout the day is being absorbed in our bodies where it needs to, and the rest of it…well you know what happens.

When it comes to how much water you should be drinking throughout the day, there’s the standard 64-ounce rule, however, it’s really based off your specific body; you should be drinking one ounce of water for every two pounds you weigh. However, drinking water right when you wake up in the morning is something that everyone can benefit from. Water in the morning not only hydrates your body right away, which will immediately give you more energy, but also helps aid digestion and your metabolism for the day. 

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“By hydrating more, a person will urinate more and have more bowel movements, which is the body’s natural way of getting rid of waste. It’s a way of cleaning out toxins in the system, you’re getting rid of bad bacteria in your system, and it allows good bacteria in your gut to grow. Proper hydration also aids our bodies. It keeps skin plump and joints lubricated. Additionally, drinking water can help with fatigue, often felt in the morning,” says Dr. Maria Peña, who specializes in obesity medicine.

When you re-hydrate your body first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to build up the habit of remaining hydrated throughout the day. To touch on a few of Peña’s points, water itself helps regulate your metabolism. It won’t make you gain weight, but can help your body self-regulate in the morning so that you’re less likely to overeat, and instead eat the perfect amount of food your body needs.

For this reason, drinking water in the morning has also been shown to aid your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Water promotes the creation of new muscle and blood cells, which are essential for digestion, and our bodies systems in general. 

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If you’re prone to headaches throughout the day, or in the morning especially, a cold glass of water upon waking up should subdue any headache symptoms almost immediately, and in general will help you have less of them. Hydration is the key to fixing most of the daily ailments that slow us down throughout the day. 

Many individuals don’t believe that cold water can actually wake you up like a cup of coffee but it can! If the first step in your morning routine becomes drinking a cold glass of ice water, the temperature alone will motivate you to get up and get ready, but the water itself will begin hydrating you, your organs, and trillions of cells immediately. This means that your body is already up, hydrated, and ready to function.

However, if you’re one of the many working Americans who needs to start their day with a good old fashion cup of coffee, then do so! Instead of making a sacrifice, make an addition, and add a water bottle to your morning beverage menu. Drinking water alongside coffee will definitely send you to the bathroom a few more times, but as Peña stated, that’s a good thing! The water will also combat any dehydrating effects that the coffee has. 

Regardless of what your routine in the morning is, add a bottle of water to it. Put some in the fridge the night before so you can simply wake up and sip on it as you get ready, you won’t even have to wait for the minty taste from brushing your teeth to subside to drink it like you would with coffee!