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If you’ve ever hit the trail or practice field during the soaring temperatures of a Texas summer, you know that extreme heat can be counterproductive to endurance. Profuse sweating and a higher core temperature when exercising on hot days not only dehydrates you, it overly fatigues muscles, and can lead to cramping, headaches, and gastrointestinal distress, among other things, that linger for hours — even days — afterward, affecting everything from daily activities to tomorrow’s workout.

While recovery is important after any intense workout, it is perhaps even more so after one performed in high temps. To avoid a diminished performance today and ensure proper recovery for tomorrow, follow these tips to help replenish your energy stores.

Replenish Lost Fluids

As much as two percent of your body weight is lost during a high heat workout, so rehydrating is a necessity.  Water is always advised, but after a particularly long and/or intense workout, look for those fortified with minerals and electrolytes to replace nutrients lost through sweat. Continue to hydrate throughout the day and avoid alcohol if you want to recover enough to workout again anytime soon. 

Cool Down to Cool Off

The cool-down period of your workout allows your heart rate to gradually return to normal, your muscles to ease into repair mode and your body to cool off more quickly.  That’s because the rapid rate of your heart continues for several minutes after a sudden stop in activity, generating enough heat to maintain a high core temp.  Walking after a run, reducing spin speed or doing light calisthenics helps dissipate thermal heat more effectively by keeping circulation slightly elevated so heat can transfer from muscles to skin more effectively. 

Stretch it Out

Muscles are good and warm after an outdoor summer workout, so it’s a great time to stretch them. Stretching will not only help eliminate the lactic acid build-up that leads to delayed onset muscle soreness, but will release stress from overworked muscles and increase flexibility, a key component in preventing injury.

Refuel with Proper Nutrition

An anti-inflammatory diet low in sugars and processed foods and high in lean proteins, whole grains and leafy greens helps provide nutrients muscles need to rebuild depleted glycogen stores, and repair and regrow muscle proteins broken down or damaged during exercise. While your pre-exercise meal, style of workout and individual body type will dictate what and how much you should eat after exercise, it is generally advised to consume a nutrient-rich combo of protein and carbs within an hour of stopping exercise. 

See Your Chiropractor

A sports chiropractor can offer valuable recovery tools for every kind and level of athlete. Through manual adjustments of the spine and extremities, as well as myofascial massage to remove muscle knots and adhesions, we can proactively help the body function more effectively to aid in recovery, achieve better overall athletic performance and prevent injuries.  In addition, we offer individualized nutrition counseling to help determine your best post-workout foods to further assist in muscle repair.  Call us to keep feeling great during outside workouts — no matter what it feels like outside.