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Causes and cures for exercise induced headaches

This giraffe may have run too far and too fast!
Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

You're trying to do the right thing by starting an exercise routine. You think you're doing well. You're really feeling good about yourself. Then suddenly it hits you right in the middle of your workout. It's the mother of all headaches and it will not go away. Several hours later it finally disappears. You go on with your life, thinking it was a one time occurrence, until your next class when it starts all over again. After a few of these sessions, you start making a connection. So, what causes exercise induced headaches. What can we do about them?

There are many possible underlying causes for exercise induced headaches.

Your headache could, for instance be caused by simple dehydration. Be sure that you have plenty of water to drink, before, during and after your exercise routine. Everyone should be in the habit of keeping hydrated anyway, whether they are exercising or not.

Maybe you're trying too hard.

If you have just started exercising again after a period of inactivity, or for the first time ever, your system may simply not be ready to handle a vigorous session. Be sure to include a warm up and a cool down in your routine. Take frequent breaks between sets. Do shorter sets. Take it easy on yourself. It's not necessary to do it all now. You'll be healthier if you approach things gradually and don't wear yourself out.

It's possible that you may have high blood pressure.

Maybe your blood pressure is simply more elevated during exercise. Your doctor can diagnose this, but in the meantime, try starting with less strenuous exercise and work your way up. Keep it stress free and enjoyable. Avoid excess salt and caffeine.

You may be experiencing a drop in blood sugar levels.

Once again, your doctor can diagnose this. Try eating smaller meals more frequently, to balance out your blood sugar. Avoid processed sugar. Stick to natural sugars such as those in fruit.

Exercise induced headaches may occur during exercise because blood vessels are dilated.

Some people say exercise induced headaches could be caused by increased blood flow to the brain. Some feel they are due to a lack of oxygen caused by irregular or changing breathing patterns during exertion. Avoid bending exercises until you are in reasonable shape. Changes in gravity cause changes in circulation.

Please note: If you have tried all of the above recommendations and you are still experiencing exercise induced headaches, you may have a more serious condition. See your doctor for diagnosis. The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice.


Mayo Clinic

This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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