Sometimes, it seems like your body has a mind of its own – especially when you work out. All kinds of weird physical symptoms, irritants, and annoyances can pop up for seemingly no reason. Maybe your body doesn’t feel like doing everything you’re telling it to do. Or, perhaps it’s reacting to the many physical changes that take place “behind the scenes” throughout your body. Then again, it could be that it’s just plain tired and needs a break. Whatever the reason, your body can respond to exercise in the strangest of ways.
Here are some of the most common “side effects” of working out and some clues as to why they happen.
You’ve probably experienced this at the beginning of a jog – especially if you haven’t moved like that in a while. What’s this nagging itching all about? Once you start moving, your heart rate increases, sending more blood to the capillaries and arteries in your muscles. As they begin to expand, they activate nearby nerves, which send messages to your brain that are “interpreted” as itching. The best way to lessen and maybe even avoid this altogether is to warmup before every workout. This will allow vein expansion to happen more slowly so that your body doesn’t notice it as much.
A runny nose during your workout indicates a decongestion of the sinus cavities. Like itchy legs, this can happen due to the increased blood flow during your workout. Doctors refer to this rather annoying phenomenon as exercise-induced rhinitis. The most common symptoms range from a leaky or stuffy nose to frequent sneezing.
If you’ve ever felt a little dizzy or like you might throw up after a fast-paced run or hard workout sesh, more than likely, you’ve pushed yourself a little too hard. When you’re exercising close to your maximum aerobic output, your body will automatically redirect the flow of blood from the gastrointestinal tract to the most active muscles, which slows down the digestive process. This can make you feel like you need to vomit. Other potential culprits include dehydration and inadequate nutrition.
No, you’re not allergic to working out. lol. Cholinergic urticaria, a.k.a. hives, can actually come from activities that boost your body heat, such as exercise. The most common form of cholinergic urticaria is those small bumps that can appear on your skin, typically within the first few minutes after breaking a sweat. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour (possibly more) before they recede as your body temperature returns to normal.
Part fascinating and part aggravating, muscle twitches often occur after you work out due to a lactic acid buildup in your muscles. The twitching will stop most of the time if you move the muscle a little bit. If your muscles constantly twitch while you’re working out, it may be a sign of a neurological condition; consult your doctor if this is the case. The best way to prevent these annoying twitches is to warm up before working out and cool down after finishing. In addition, be sure to get adequate hydration (water is best), and remember to replenish your electrolytes through sports drinks or electrolyte-enhanced water after you work out.
Numb Toes or Feet
You’re about 5 minutes into your jog, and suddenly you can’t feel your toes, or your feet feel like they’ve gone numb. What’s up with that? When you’re working out, your feet begin to swell due to repetitive impact, and your body temperature begins to rise. The combination of these two factors can affect blood circulation to your feet, especially if you’re wearing thick socks, shoes that are too small, or shoes that have been tied too tight.
Perhaps you just finished an intense workout, and now your head is pounding. This is known as a primary exercise headache, and it’s usually caused by factors such as low blood sugar, inadequate warm-up time, or changes in the flow of blood to the brain during and after your workout. Most of the time, they will go away anywhere between 5 minutes to 48 hours after your workout. If it continues for several days or even a week, consult with your health professional.
Your body is a complex machine, and it can respond to exercise in a number of interesting and often weird ways. If you have experienced one or more of the above symptoms, at least you know now that you’re not the only one!