Can Exercise Cause Headaches?

Exercise Can Cause HeadachesWe’re always told that we should do more exercise and that it’s good for us, but you may have wondered; can exercise cause headaches?

The truth is, whilst exercise is inherently good for you, some people really do experience headaches and/or migraines after working out or undertaking any kind of physical activity. No doubt, some of you will be surprised by this but if this sounds familiar to you, here are some tips to try and alleviate them;

  • Always be sure to keep lots of water on hand – and make sure you drink it. If you don’t keep your water levels up before, during and after any kind of activity – irrespective of how strenuous or otherwise it may be – the resulting dehydration may well lead to one or more of the many symptoms that go along with being dehydrated, including headaches and/or dizziness.
  • Make sure you’ve eaten properly. Exercising while fasting is not a great idea. The lack of available energy from your body can lead to you feeling sick, nauseous and give you headaches. You should look to maintain good blood sugar levels whilst exercising, if you want to avoid symptoms such as these.
  • Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures. On a hot, sunny day a run might seem like a great idea, after all, it’s good to get out in the fresh air, isn’t it? Exercising during the heat of the day puts additional stresses and strains on the body, which isn’t necessarily a good idea, depending on your fitness levels. Much better to go first thing in the morning or later in the evening. Going out in the blazing sun will dehydrate you quicker and the exertion could bring on heat stroke. Similarly going out in the freezing cold weather is not going to be a smart idea, either, because the low temperature could increase your chances of hypothermia.
  • Breathe properly. If you’re taking rapid, short, sharp breaths you may be taking in less oxygen than you actually need, depriving the brain of some of the oxygen it needs to function (the brain uses 25% of the oxygen you breathe in). Of course, if the brain experiences a lack of oxygen, the chances of getting a headache or migraine rise dramatically.
  • Warm up and cool down properly. Jumping straight into a full on work out without easing into it, will confuse your body and force it in to fight or flight mode, which will release all kinds of hormones into your system. Doing a proper warm up and cool down will ease your body into exercise gently. By raising your blood pressure and heart rate gradually, you also prevent injury to your muscles.

The most common type of headache after exercise is a throbbing pain, which should ease a once your heart rate has returned to normal – or at the very latest, after no more than a few hours.

Generally speaking, we all experience headaches from time to time, but if you’re getting headaches regularly and, despite observing these tips, the symptoms or level of pain you’re suffering with is out of the ordinary, or takes the form of a sharper, more piercing sensation, do pay a visit to your GP just to make sure there’s no unexplained or underlying health concern.

It makes sense, you know!

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