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Harvard medical professional provides World Series health tips

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(USA Today)

The World Series is upon us, which means fans of the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are about to go on a roller coaster ride of emotions that will either end in the ultimate thrill or heartbreak.

It's actually a lot of stress to put yourself through in the name of sports, especially if the series extends to seven games. According to Michael Craig Miller, M.D., a senior editor for Harvard's Health Publications, it's something the body and mind has to be prepared to deal with. And it's with that in mind that ahead of Wednesday's Game 1, Dr. Miller published a few helpful tips that he says will help fans of both teams get through the series both mentally and physically.

Here's a look at a few of his suggestions.

Sleep: All seven games are scheduled to start around 8:00 pm Eastern Time. That could make for some late nights. If you have a chance to take a nap on game day, go ahead and do it.

As anyone who's experienced their favorite team making the World Series probably knows, sleep leading up to the game is nearly impossible. Even sleep the night before a game is difficult, and winding down afterwards may be the most difficult task. There will be several walking zombies in both cities over the next week, and it will have little to do with Halloween. It's unavoidable, even if unhealthy.

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(USA Today)

Exercise: Physical activity—and I’m not talking about adjusting the La-Z-Boy or opening a bottle of beer—is a good way to get rid of pre-game jitters. A 20- or 30-minute walk, run, swim, or whatever can help you relax. It’s also good for blood pressure, which can climb high during a stressful game.

For those who don't have time to exercise during the day, you should have plenty of time in the seventh and eighth innings when multiple pitching changes are taking place. If you don't have a treadmill at home, pacing back and forth works, too.

Alcohol: If you drink, keep it moderate. Being sleep deprived and hung over for up to nine days isn’t good for your health, and certainly won’t endear you to your family members or coworkers (although some of them may be in the same boat).

Some? Does he know which fan bases we're dealing with? In this regard, both sides should have enough postseason experience to know when to say when. Of course, that experience will likely be ignored by the fourth inning, so all that we really ask is that you're smart and safe.

Emotions: Some people can watch a World Series game dispassionately. I’m not one of them. As a Red Sox fan, my mood goes up and down with the team’s success. The anxiety that fans like me have is actually rooted in evolution. The human body reacts to a threat—physical or emotional—with the “fight or flight” response. The adrenal glands pump the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the bloodstream. It causes the heart to beat faster than normal. Blood pressure rises. Extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. Sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper. Blood sugar (glucose) and fats are released into the bloodstream from storage sites in the body.

That makes sense when the threat is short-lived. But when it lasts for several hours, or several days, this stress response can be harmful. If you find yourself getting stressed, breathing deeply and slowly for a minute or two while saying a relaxing word like “win” can help.

"Win." "Win! "

That might work the first time. Later in the game, it will be replaced with four-letter words and specific names. Game flow always determines the relaxation word.

For example, "Wacha." Or "bunting!?"

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(JoeSportsFan)

That aside, there's some really good advice here, and there's even more in Dr. Miller's post. It's an educational read, and for some it may even prove to be a survival guide.

Stay healthy, our friends.

BLS H/N: For The Win

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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