While it’s not common, experiencing intense headaches after performing strenuous activities such as exercise is not unheard of. If you’ve experienced pain within a few hours after running or working out at the gym, then you may be experiencing a form of exertion headache called exercise headaches. This type of headache is usually harmless; however, the actual cause of the pain remains unknown. This type of headache can easily be treated using over the counter medications, and luckily, it is possible to prevent this type of headache from happening or at least significantly reduce the number of occurrences of exercise headaches without cutting down on exercise. Here are some of the things you can do to prevent exercise headaches from happening.
- Warm Up. A proper warm up doesn’t only protect you from straining your muscles; it also prevents the occurrence of headaches. Warming up before exercising stretches your muscles and slowly gets your blood pumping before diving in to the exercise proper. This regulates your blood circulation to your brain so that it doesn’t make your head throb like crazy after working out.
- Breathe properly. Proper breathing helps you build up your endurance and it also keeps you from straining and overexerting yourself during exercise. It also ensures that you get enough oxygen to your brain when exercising. Make sure you breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Breathe slowly and deeply in order to get enough oxygen into your system while exercising.
- Keep hydrated. Exercise causes us to lose fluids and electrolytes and the more you exercise, the more dehydrated you get. This fluid loss can lead to painful headache episodes after exercising. Make sure you have water or a sports drink with you when you exercise.
- Maintain a good heart rate. Some people tend to overdo it when they exercise. One way to tell if you are overdoing it is if you experience exercise headaches after working out. By checking and moderating your heart rate, you can maintain proper blood circulation to the brain and prevent exercise headaches from happening.
- Maintain good blood sugar levels. If your reason for exercising is to lose weight, it won’t harm you to eat a little bit or have a glass of orange juice before you begin your exercise routine. Keeping your blood sugar at a normal level will prevent hypoglycemia and the headaches that come with it.
- Ask your doctor about preventive medication. If you have recurring exercise headaches, it’s wise to seek a doctor’s help in determining the cause of the problem. If there are no serious underlying causes to the exercise headaches, your doctor may prescribe an NSAID called indomethacin to help prevent headaches after a good workout.
Headaches shouldn’t stop you from getting a proper workout. If you’re experiencing headaches after exercising or performing other strenuous activities, try these simple tips and feel the difference immediately. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor to make sure that the headaches are not caused by any underlying condition that may be life threatening.