Summertime is perfect for long, enjoyable walks that build your bones, especially early in the day or in the evening when the weather cools off.
Walking is also a great stress reducer. As I discuss in he Osteoporosis Reversal Program, stress is actually an acidifying process because of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands when your body is under stress.
You'll also soak up bone-healthy Vitamin D while indulging in one of the best weight-bearing exercises you can do… So what could ruin this perfect combination? Some uninvited guests: those annoying, persistent mosquitoes!
Before You Bring Out the Bug Spray…
Yes, it’s tempting to slather on bug spray so you can enjoy your walk in peace. But mosquito and other bug repellants are loaded with acidifying and toxic chemicals that can have a negative impact on your bone health.
OFF, a popular mosquito repellant, lists the active ingredient as N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. You probably haven’t heard of this, but you may very well have seen news reports about DEET, which is the abbreviation for this chemical. DEET, the most commonly used ingredient in insect repellants, is a highly acidifying toxic substance that has been shown to have negative effects on the central nervous system. 1
So what can you do? Well, you sure don't have to be a walking bug banquet or let mosquitoes stop you from your weight bearing activities – I'll let you know a little later how to naturally deal with them.
But first, let’s look at some of the reasons those pesky critters are attracted to you.
Why Do Mosquitoes Like to Hang Around?
Mosquitoes are attracted by several physiological factors that occur when you're out working up a sweat:
- You excrete lactic acid in your perspiration fluid
- Your skin temperature increases
- As you perspire, your skin becomes moist
- You exhale carbon dioxide – exhaling CO2 is part of the normal breathing process, but as your breathing rate increases during exercise, you exhale even more CO2
All of the above are natural and necessary effects of exercise, and are not under your control. There are, however, a couple of things you can do to make yourself a less attractive target:
- Wear light-colored clothing – mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors
- Avoid perfumes with floral or fruity fragrances – the mosquitoes like them just as much as you do!
A Built-In Mosquito Repellant
You might be reading this and thinking, “What’s the big deal? Mosquitoes don’t pay any attention to me at all.” If that’s the case, lucky you!
But there may be more to it than luck, and studying people who aren’t bothered by mosquitoes could very well lead to some breakthrough natural repellants.
Researchers from UK-based Rothamsted Research are working to isolate naturally occurring odors that repel mosquitoes in certain populations and have already identified a few that appear to be stress-related.
According to James Logan, one of the scientists involved in the research,
“Mosquitoes fly through an aerial soup of chemicals, but can home in on those that draw them to humans… when the combination of human odors is wrong, the mosquito fails to recognize this signal as a potential blood meal.” 2
Those lucky few whom mosquitoes do not find attractive seem to produce higher levels of particular chemicals.
Until the researchers figure all of this out and come up with the perfect natural repellant, you can…
Make Your Own Natural Insect Repellant
Combine the following essential oils to make a 100% natural insect repellant:
1/2 ounce citronella oil or peppermint oil
1/4 ounce lavender oil 1/8 ounce tea tree oil
1/8 ounce jojoba oil or almond oil – preferably organic
Dilute in 16 ounces of witch hazel and pour in a squirt or spray bottle. As a general rule, do not use essential oils undiluted.
Armed with natural solutions that don’t acidify your pH, you can enjoy the bone-healthy benefits of the great outdoors in the summer.
Have fun in the sun,