5 Bizarre Side Effects Of Exercise

You expect your workout to come with a good amount of sweat, soreness, and B.O. Less expected is itchiness, the runs, and snot. But these bodily dysfunctions—and a slew of others—can be strange-but-normal side effects of exercise. Keep reading to find out if your weirdest and grossest workout woes make the list.

1. Your muscle twitches while lifting

Why it happens: Those tiny spasms are called muscle fasciculations, says Christopher Minson, PhD, a professor of human physiology at the University of Oregon, and they're caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in your muscle fibers as they fatigue.

Your move: Hydrate before and during a workout. This helps maintain the equilibrium of electrolytes in your muscle cells, explains Minson. Cold water is best for most workouts, but if you're working out for longer than 30 minutes, grab a sports drink. These beverages offer potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes to replenish what your body lost through sweat.

If the twitch continues for days or disrupts your sleep, you should see a doctor. In rare cases, severe pain or a sustained twitch could be a sign of a tear or strain, says Michael J. Ryan, PhD, associate professor of exercise science at Fairmont State University. What's more, spasms that last a long time or occur on a regular basis may be a sign of kidney or thyroid dysfunction, fibromyalgia, or other neuromuscular disorders.

2. Your nose and eyes run faster than you do

Why it happens: Exercise dilates and constricts blood vessels in your sinuses, making your eyes and nose drip, says Minson.

Suffer from more than just a drip? If your nose mimics a hose spraying full blast, you may be allergic to exercise, says Ryan. It's called exercise-induced rhinitis, and its symptoms are very similar to seasonal allergies: runny nose, congestion, sneezing, or watery eyes. You'll notice that it usually occurs when you increase your workout's intensity, because your blood vessels are constricting more than normal, he says.

Your move: Exercising indoors will help you steer clear of irritants like pollens, car exhaust, which can flare up sinuses, says Minson. Using a nasal spray—particularly one containing secretion-decreasing ipratropium bromide—before your workout can also help.

3. Your skin itches

Why it happens: Your heart pumps more blood to your working muscles—like your thighs while running or your chest while bench pressing—during exercise, filling millions of capillaries. "As the capillaries expand, they push outward, stimulating surrounding nerve cells, which in turn sends signals back to your brain," says Ryan. Your brain translates these signals as an itch.

Your move: The only thing you can do to lessen the itch is to maintain a workout routine. If you exercise regularly, your brain gets accustomed to the signals and starts to ignore them. But the longer the break you take, the more intense the itch will be when you return, says Ryan. If your itching comes with welts, hives, or a feeling of faintness, call your doctor. This could be a more serious case called exercise-induced urticaria.

4. Your stomach feels like a block of ice

Why it happens: Your body isn't overly concerned about digestion when you work out—it's more worried about keeping your legs jogging or your biceps curling. "So it shifts a lot of your blood flow away from your stomach and intestines in order to supply more blood to the muscles for exercise," says Minson.

And those working muscles produce a lot of heat that's transferred to the skin, too, says Ryan. This warms up areas besides your stomach, which makes your belly feel colder in comparison, he says.

Your move: There's no work-around for this one: It's a natural and normal part of exercise, and you don't need to sweat it, says Minson. However, if you feel nauseous, have a headache, are dizzy, lightheaded, feel cramping, chest pain, or have cold, clammy skin elsewhere, stop exercising until you see your doctor, says Ryan. Clammy skin can signal heart attack or heat exhaustion, so take it seriously.

5. Your head starts spinning

Why it happens: Vertigo, a dizziness that can lead to fainting, can be caused by blood pooling in the legs when you're standing, being too hot, or stopping exercise abruptly, says Minson.

Unfortunately, the fitter you are, the more likely you are to experience it. That's because while exercise increases the size of the ventricles of the heart—a sign of good fitness—it can also reduce blood flow back to the heart during prolonged standing, Minson says. With less blood returning to the heart, less blood is being replenished with oxygen—and your brain isn't a huge fan of this. After a few minuts, you'll feel lightheaded. Dehydration and low blood sugar can contribute, too.

Your move: Keep moving after exercise or sit down. While this seems contradictory, both of these actions push blood back toward the heart. Minson explains. Flex and unflex your thigh and calf muscles to keep blood flowing, and stay hydrated, too, he says. You may only need to rest and drink some water, but play it safe. "Let a medical professional tell you when you can return to physical activity," says Ryan. Vertigo isn't always a cause for medical attention, but it can be an early sign of a heart attack or stroke.

****Adapted from Prevention Magazine's article 8 Bizarre Side Effects Of Exercise

****If you ever need more fitness or weight loss tips, never hesitate to send me an email (michael@michaelmoodyfitness.com). I'm a personal trainer in Chicago and I've been serving weight loss personal training clients since 2005.

Picture Credit: Snap Fitness

Article Credit:
Author: Prevention Magazine
5 Bizarre Side Effects Of Exercise
Understand the symptoms you experience during your personal training sessions in Chicago.