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Fit Bits: November 2001

Fit Bits: November 2001

By Deborah Marks
posted: 10/11/2001

Sports Drinks Vs. Water

Many skiers buy the colorful bottled beverages called "sports drinks" because they replace essential electrolytes (sodium and potassium) lost during exercise. Well, the truth is, those drinks are good for you, but the reasons are different than you might think. While skiing can be plenty strenuous, alternating between even the most grueling bump runs and the chairlift likely won't drastically deplete electrolytes, as would an hour or two of a constant, cardiovascularly draining exercise such as running.

The most important benefit of sports drinks is that the added electrolytes actually make you thirstier, which means you're likely to drink more-usually until you're at least 80 percent hydrated. With plain water, a few sips can quench your thirst, so you often stop drinking before you should.

Seek and Find

Wherever you are, it'll find you. And in an avalanche situation, that's exactly what you want. A robot developed to track chemical and biological weapons on the battlefield could help locate avalanche victims faster than the current methods available.

The robots' developers used simulated avalanche situations to test the robots and found that the devices can pinpoint the exact location of a victim in as little as four minutes. Presently, backcountry skiers wear transceiver devices, which apply a "getting warmer, getting colder" method of searching. With a professional search team using transceivers, an avalanche victim has a two-thirds survival rate at an average rescue time of 16 minutes. Without a professional search team, the survival rate drops to one-third. After 35 minutes, any search is virtually hopeless, says Dale Adkins of the American Avalanche Association. With such a short survival window, the new robots could improve the number of successful rescues. However, Adkins says the robot system is still too expensive for avalanche rescue teams, who often struggle just to afford transceivers and other basic rescue equipment.

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