When we exercise, our bodies are working incredibly hard – our muscles are engaged, our hearts are beating faster, our lungs are working to send oxygen to our muscles, and our hormones and endorphins are elevated. On top of all of this, our body temperature is increasing and our bodies are working to regulate our core temperature.
When we exercise in the heat, our core temperature increases faster and our body has to work harder to regulate our core temperature. The result is that we sweat more, which means our bodies are losing nutrients faster, leading to muscle pain, cramps, and, possibly, heat exhaustion.
What you do before, during, and after your summer workouts can make all the difference in your muscle pain and joint inflammation.
- Drink plenty of fluids prior to exercising. If you exercise early, be sure to hydrate the next before.
- Warm-up appropriately.
- To reduce joint inflammation, start your workout with a light warm-up. Consider riding a stationary bike or walking for 10 minutes before starting more intense exercise.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching muscles before exercise may help reduce muscle pain and cramps. Engaging in active stretching after a light warm-up will help increase the effectiveness of a stretch.
- During exercise, stay hydrated!
- University of Iowa notes muscle pain is often due to a loss of electrolytes, so choose an electrolyte-replacing beverage to drink during your workout.
- Attend to warning signs of overheating.
- Muscle pain is more likely to occur if you overdo it while exercising in the heat.
- Pay attention to your body and stop if you notice lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, or chills.
- Reduce intensity.
- Alternate type of workout.
- ACE Fitness recommends switching up your exercise routine in the summer months. Consider choosing an indoor workout, such as a video, stationary bike, yoga, or swimming, on alternating days to your normal outdoor workout.
- If you feel there is a trend here you’re right! Hydration is important at every stage! Continue hydrating for several hours after your workout. Replace electrolytes for at least the first hour, especially if you plan to workout in the heat the following day.
- Apply heat or ice.
- Depending on the type of pain, Mayo Clinic recommends applying heat to a tight muscle using a compress or a hot bath.
- For muscle cramps and joint inflammation, consider applying ice for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
- Muscle pain and cramps are significantly reduced with long-held stretches and massage. For site-specific stretches, visit mayoclinic.org.
- Allow extra time for recovery.
- Our bodies work harder in the heat. Give yourself some grace and allow extra time for recovery in between workouts.
Working out in the summer heat doesn’t have to be followed by muscle pain and joint inflammation. As a driven mama, you have the power to prepare and successfully execute your summer workouts without pain!
Give yourself time to prepare, extra time to workout, and time to hydrate and tend to your body and soul after working out.