Q: I am working out in the heat and trying to keep hydrated with more than just water. Gatorade is too expensive and too sweet, and I’m sure there are easier ways to quickly replace what my body’s losing in high heat. Are juices good?

A: Today, we have a plethora of choices when it comes to fluid-replacement drinks. It seems that every day I see an advertisement for a “new” drink that helps this and stops that.

The first thing you need to ask is “How long will I be working out?” Research shows that under controlled conditions your body will respond best to a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage only after more than one hour of intense exercise. Under one hour, the body does not seem to gain any benefit from these types of sport drinks and you would probably do best with ice-cold water.

When the conditions change, for example in extreme heat, the body may utilize the carbs and electrolytes present in these drinks sooner due to increased work and sweat output. Gatorade is the most advertised sports drink on the market and there is a reason for that — it can work when used correctly. I would suggest buying a bulk canister of the powder mix to help keep the cost down. You may also want to try using only half the recommended amount of powder per volume of water. This helps with the sweetness but still gives you the benefits of the drink.

Juices aren’t bad, but they do have a lot of sugar and they lack the variety of electrolytes in sports drinks. There are plenty of other proven drinks, including Cytomax and Accelerade, but one of my favorites is a sugar-free alternative called Ultima. This light drink is packed with minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants and other vitamins that help replenish the lost fluids without the heavy sugar taste.
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Q: I think I need to get orthotics due to ongoing and chronic knee pain. Is this the answer? Where do I get them?

A: When you are an active individual, whether you are a person who walks around the office building a lot or a three-sport high school athlete, you are bound to have certain aches and pain in your knees. Breaking down the origin of this pain can be tough, and I would suggest consulting with a medical professional before doing anything. Oftentimes, what you may find out is that your physiological alignment may be off. This could occur in many places, from the feet to the low back, influencing your next step and changing your gait or running pattern.

If the problem can be attributed in some part to poor foot stability or lower extremity malalignment, orthotics may be of benefit for you. You would need to be properly evaluated and cast in order to assure a proper fit. Many medical professionals including a physical therapist, podiatrist, or an orthotist can do this.
Orthotics can be costly, ranging from $150 to $400, so before taking this step, I would suggest trying new shoes. You are going to need them for the orthotics anyway, and this may be enough to eliminate the discomfort. Look for a solid, stable running shoe with good arch support. You should look under the cushioned bed on the inside of the shoe and check to make sure the stitching goes all the way around the outside of the shoe with a possible horizontal cross-stitch in the toe section. Check with your local shoe store for more assistance in finding the right shoe for you.

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