7 Weird Side Effects of Exercise

Exercise can cause some pretty strange things to happen to your body! It’s so much more than just sweating two or three times as much as normal, but you’ll find that there are some pretty weird side effects of exercise:

Muscle Twitches

When you’re lifting weights, do you ever notice that your muscles start to twitch? It’s not the shaking that sets in when you are struggling to lift heavy, but it’s a strange, rapid twitching of your muscles. This is called muscle fasiculations, and it’s caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in your muscles. Without enough sodium and potassium, your muscles experience this strange side effect as they fatigue. The fix: get more electrolytes before working out!

Itchy Skin

This isn’t the most common side effect, but it’s certainly one of the strangest! It’s caused by the increase in blood flow to the capillaries under your skin. The expanding capillaries stimulate the nerve endings around them, which in turn send signals to your brain. Your brain interprets this as an “itch”, hence the itchy skin. Don’t worry the problem goes away with regular exercise.

Need for Bathroom

When you work out, it can be annoying to suddenly have to use the bathroom. But that’s just one more normal side effect of the workout. When you exercise, the motion can jostle your GI tract, stimulating contractions of the intestinal muscles and pushing your waste materials closer to the exit. There is also an increase in blood flow throughout your body, which may in turn increase your need for the bathroom. The fix: use the restroom before working out, or take a short break to empty your bowels and bladder before continuing the workout.

Runny Nose and Eyes

It’s incredibly annoying to feel like your eyes and nose are leaking all over the place as you run or work out. But did you know that it’s caused by the dilation of your blood vessels? Your blood vessels have to expand to accommodate an increase in blood flow, which can stimulate your sinuses and eyes and cause them to drip. To prevent this problem, work out indoors, and use a decongesting nasal spray to clear things up.

Spinning Head

If your head starts to spin, it’s good to sit down. Vertigo can set in when the blood pools in your legs, such as during a cycling or running workout. The same happens when you stand up quickly, or when you’re straining to perform a heavy lift. The fix: take it easy. Sit down, and try to avoid standing up too quickly.

Cold Stomach

Have you ever felt your stomach growing very cold as you exercise? Before you freak out, you need to understand that this isn’t really a bad thing. Your body only has so much blood, so it has to send it to the body parts that are working the most. This usually means your limbs, so the flow of blood to your digestive tract is reduced. If you experience this sensation, don’t sweat it! It’s a normal side effect, and nothing to worry about. But if the chill is accompanied by headaches, fatigue, nausea, or other nasty side effects, that’s definitely a problem!

Nausea and Stomach Upset

If you sometimes feel the need to vomit when you work out, it may be worrisome. After all, you’re not working out that hard, but your stomach won’t settle. Don’t sweat it: it’s just a combination of your stomach contents being jostled around and the blood moving away from your gastrointestinal tract. Stomach upset and nausea can often be caused by eating too close to your workout, so if you feel your tummy rumbling, it’s better to avoid working out until it has settled down.

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