What Causes Headaches During and Post-Workouts?

What Causes Headaches During and Post-Workouts?

Throbbing ache in your temples or piercing pain in your forehead, headaches are no fun. It becomes especially problematic when you’ve experienced it during or after your workout.

There are 2 kinds of headaches – primary and secondary. The former is triggered by tension, exertion or lack of sleep. The latter may be caused by health conditions like an infection (flu), high blood pressure, or worse, stroke.

Let’s talk about the main causes of headaches during and after exercise.

Reason #1: Sustained hard workouts

Strenuous physical activity if performed for long periods can cause headaches, which are referred to as exercise or exertional headaches. The headache you’ll experience is a throbbing one, with pain similar to migraines affecting the whole head. Usually, exercise headaches can last a few minutes to 2 days.

If you’re experiencing exertion headaches, try to keep your body from overheating or lower the intensity of your workout.

Reason #2: Poor posture

Poor form and posture during exercise can cause tension, which in turn leads to headaches. You’ll notice an ache on either side of your head. If you experience this, check your form and posture during your workout. You can also relieve the pain by using hot compress or massage your head and neck.

Reason #3: Dehydration

This should be common knowledge – if your body does not get enough fluid, you will suffer from dehydration which in turn causes headaches.  Be sure to consume enough liquids throughout the day. Water should be your main option but to add some variety, you can also mix it up with some special sports drinks.

Reason #4: Low blood sugar

The main signs of low blood sugar after exercise are headache, weakness, dizziness and shaking. If you have these symptoms, be sure to eat or drink something to refill lost energy.

How to Avoid Headaches During and After Workouts

For some people, headaches may be a common side effect of exercise but this shouldn’t stop you from working out in gyms like Bay Club.  There are things you can do to prevent headaches during or after your workout. 

First of all, stay hydrated and eat well. Low blood sugar and dehydration are your enemies. About 2 hours before hitting the gym, be sure to eat a snack (or even a solid meal) and drink lots of water. If you sweat a lot during exercise, replenish lost fluids during and after your session.

Then be sure to do a proper warm up and cool down. Take 5-10 minutes of stretching and slowly getting your heart rate up before your actual workout. And then spend the same amount of time to cool down after. For some people, the sudden start or cessation of exercise results in headaches.

Finally, if you’re new to exercising, start with easy workouts like a 30 minute cycling or swimming instead of immediately doing HIITs. Give yourself about 4-6 weeks to acclimatize your body in a slow but progressive way instead of just going straight to hard exercises.

Here’s a video illustration on what happens to your blood sugar when working out:

What happens to your blood sugar when you work out?

Category: Featured