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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 ( 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.

The Secret to Losing Weight

(excerpt from my self-improvement book Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness)

If you want change to stick, it needs to become a habit. Especially when it comes to weight loss.

Habits are highly ingrained, learned behaviors. They are your subconscious' autopilot reaction. In a Duke University study, researchers found that 40% of our daily actions are habits. Your brain loves to multitask and will do everything in its power to build an association (consciously or otherwise). It wants to run on autopilot so that it can do the million other things it needs to do.

More times than not, your subconscious puts your keys in the same place and help you drive your proverbial car in the constant rush of your life. Habits are essentially the underlying force of your routines and take very little effort to carryout. They maintain the order in your life!

What if they are destructive, though? What if you recognize these bad habits and try to change them, but repeatedly fail? What if you want to lose weight but still grab a snack before bed like you normally do?

I wish we could just start a new routine and call it quits on the bad habit. Since the brain depends on repeated occurrences—or the value of the routines and rewards—a process must take place before this change occurs. The brain needs to know that a new habit is equally or more important.

A habit is a mental sequence that must be triggered to start. The brain must recognize a cue—an environmental signal for action based on repeated occurrences. It doesn’t want to waste its time on routines that won’t lead to rewards. It builds an association between a cue and helps develop a routine in hopes of a predictable reward.

If carried out repeatedly, the strength of a bad habit is probably too powerful to be extinguished quickly. You may figure out the cue to this habit and still succumb to the same destructive habit. It takes practice and your brain must be taught a new connection between the cue, the routine, and the reward. The mind doesn’t want to lose its prized reward, and it will keep leading you back to what it knows best —your habit!

How do you change something so ingrained that it happens subconsciously, and that will try to undermine your individual efforts to alter it?

The answer lies in the cue and reward. Most people try to erase the whole formula and completely remove themselves from the habit (and not just the bad routine).

Unfortunately, the reward and cue are too ingrained in us to simply extinguish instantly. Even if we try to escape it, there may always be something in our environment that triggers our routine. After all, we want our reward!

In the book The Power of Habit, the author Charles Duhigg wonderfully illustrates our need to trick ourselves into new habits. Remember metacognition? We need to think about our thinking to keep ourselves in check. When we change our habits, we must become the Wizard of OZ and unnoticeably make minor modifications behind our unconscious “back."

We need to insert a new routine, keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward.

For example:

You lose your focus at work every day at 3 p.m. You usually have stared at your computer screen for the last two hours and the words are starting to look like alphabet soup.

At that point, you get up and walk to the office kitchen where you indulge in the morning’s leftover donuts (even though you’re not hungry). You’ve done this for two years, and now you’re ten pounds heavier. In the wake of New Year’s Eve, you are ready to shake off the weight. Despite your best efforts, your 3 p.m. walk to the kitchen doesn’t change.

In this example, you need to break down the formula for your donut-to-mouth habit:

3 p.m. + Go to the kitchen and grab the donut that will make you overweight = Break from work

(Cue) + (Routine) = (Reward)

Take notice that the real reward is the break from work, not stuffing yourself because you’re hungry (since you just ate lunch two hours ago).

In our example, we need to change the routine of going to the kitchen as our first step. You can decide to work through your 3 p.m. break, but you and I both know that you would stare at the clock for an hour thinking about that donut.

Keep your break. Instead of eating, though, visit a colleague and discuss the latest episode of your favorite show or that football game. Sit in another part of the office and read a magazine. Do whatever you want—besides eating—to give yourself the real reward: a break from your tedious work.

Repeat this sequence until you don’t notice anymore. At first, it will be a fight with your subconscious to go the kitchen. You must resist. Remind yourself that you’re not hungry and that you just want a break. Find something else to do.

Although the results may vary, don’t be discouraged. Your self-talk will override your old, bad habits eventually. As you unravel these habits, you will create new ones by introducing new approaches to life.

Reflection Section: Answer these questions to begin your journey!

1.) Awareness: Describe a habit you want to change. How does this habit affect you? What are the benefits of changing this habit? What are the obstacles to changing this habit?

2.) Acceptance: Can you accept that you’re not perfect and that it will take time, effort, and patience to change this habit?

3.) Adaptation: How will you change the present routine to achieve your goal? Break down your habit into the following parts (use the donut example as a reference).

· Cue:

· Routine:

· Reward:

******Check out my new self-improvement book Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon!!!!!!

Article Credit:
The Secret to Losing Weight
Habits and their connection to your weight loss.
Self Improvement book by author and personal trainer in Chicago, Michael Moody

Self Improvement book by author and personal trainer in Chicago, Michael Moody