Have You Experienced These Exercise Side Effects?
We know that exercise is important for good overall health. Exercising regularly can help us lose weight, and keep it off. Muscles are built, toned and strengthened. Cardiovascular health can be improved, and sticking to an exercise routine can even improve sleep quality.
While these are all welcome benefits that come with working out, exercising can also produce some unexpected side effects. If a runny nose, watery eyes or even body shakes happen to you after exercising, you’re not alone. Keep reading to see why these and other side effects can happen after a good workout.
8 Unexpected Side Effects of Exercising
- Thighs Itch
Do your legs start to itch a few minutes into your workout? More common in runners and cyclists, the itchy feeling is caused by the arteries and capillaries expanding rapidly in your muscles. Your heart rate increases as you exercise, and this results in faster blood flow. Your brain interprets this as “itching”, which is why you feel the annoying sensation.
- Unstoppable Runny Nose
Runny noses, watery eyes, congestion and headaches all sound like symptoms of a cold or allergies, but they are also side effects of exercise. In fact, these work-out induced side effects even have a name; exercise-induce rhinitis.
In most cases, these symptoms appear during or immediately after an especially rigorous workout. Other times, it is a combination of exercise, chilly weather or pollen. If you tend to get a runny nose from working out only in the winter, your symptoms are probably caused by a combination of triggers. On the other hand, if it happens every time you push yourself it might be your body’s way of telling you to slow down.
- Toes are Numb
It’s painful and annoying when your toes suddenly go numb during a workout. It can also be a sign of a more serious health problem. If you’re in excellent health and relatively good shape, there might be another cause for your numb feet.
Whether your toes go numb on an elliptical or in the middle of a squat, it can be potentially dangerous. Not being able to feel your feet can cause you to stumble and fall. Exercising raises your body temperature, and combined with you being on your feet they will naturally swell.
To prevent numbness in your toes make sure that circulation isn’t a problem. Wear loose, lightweight socks and don’t tie your shoes too tight. You also want to make sure that your shoes are the right size since this is one of the main reasons toes go numb.
- Heavy Chest Pressure
If you constantly feel like breathing is a chore when you work out, it might be a sign of exercise induced asthma. Some of the signs to watch out for include feelings of heavy pressure on your chest, along with uncontrollable coughing when you exercise.
Not being able to breathe easily will affect your workout progress, and can be detrimental to your health if this side effect is not treated. A licensed physician can evaluate your condition, and help you find an effective treatment so you can get back to exercising regularly.
- Face Turns Bright Red
Red faces during exercise are pretty common, and usually nothing to worry about. All it indicates is that you are building up body heat and sweat from a hard workout. The redness is due to oxygenated blood coming to the surface of your skin. It is one of the ways your body works to prevent overheating.
Once you have cooled down from the workout, your face should return to its normal color. If your beet red face is accompanied by cold sweats, shortness of breath or dizziness, STOP exercising immediately and sit down. This is an indication that you are overheating, and this can be dangerous to your health.
- Body Shakes
Body shakes typically occur when you are holding a pose for an extended length of time. It’s normal, and indicates that you are working your muscles. The shaking is due to the muscles contracting and expanding, and usually stops once you’ve built up strength.
While some shaking is a sign that you are pushing yourself, it is also important to know when enough is enough. Holding a pose whether it is for yoga or weight training to long can damage the muscles, instead of building and toning. Always ask an experienced trainer or licensed physician for advice before you start pushing your body’s limits.
- Leg Cramps
Charley Horse or leg cramps are painful, and the most common complaint among athletes and fitness buffs. You can easily avoid the exercise side effect simply by staying hydrated throughout your workout. If hydration isn’t the cause, then the cramps should be seen as a sign that you overexerted yourself during the workout.
- Hives from Swimming
Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up swimming if it gives you hives. You might want to consider only diving into warmer waters though. If every time you jump into chilly water hives appear on your skin, you might have a condition known as cold urticaria.
The welts are caused by the skin producing histamine when it is exposed to cold temperatures. In most cases, the hives are only present for a couple of hours and pose no significant health threat. However, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and stomach cramps can also appear and this means that you should immediately get out of the water.
Exercising without Side Effects
In a perfect world the only side effects from exercise would be the ones that we are striving to get. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic. Your face will get red, there will be sweaty and shaky muscles. If not, you are not pushing yourself.
While you do have to periodically increase the intensity of your exercise program, you also don’t want to “overdo” it. The same side effects can also be a sign that your body is pushing itself too hard. Listen to your body, pay attention to the side effects, and whenever in doubt ask a licensed physician or experienced trainer for guidance and advice.