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We’ve all been at the gym, hitting it super hard…and it happens. Your nose opens up and then comes the snot. You panic and try to discretely wipe it away. Let’s own up to these purely natural, purely embarrassing moments. Better yet, let’s beat them! Here are the best ways to fight all those annoying bodily functions during and post workout.
Runny Nose: As soon as you establish a comfortable pace on a run or rise out of your seat on the stationary bike, the waterworks turn on and your nose is leaking like a faucet. What gives? Doctors call this annoying occurrence “exercise-induced rhinitis.” Symptoms include runny and/or stuffy nose and even sneezing and can affect people with or without allergies. It can be attributed to pollution, weather and increased blood flow, which leads to decongestion of the sinuses.
Solution: Talk to your doctor first to find the best solution. If your nose is really leaky, he or she may put you on a prescription nasal spray or allergy medication. If you rather go the natural route, stock up on tissues and stash them in your gym bag or pocket.
Wedgies: They’re the worst! You’re in Warrior One pose and instead of focusing on your body alignment and breathing, all you can think about is how badly you need to pull your yoga pants out of your ass. The cause: You’re either wearing the wrong size or the wrong fabric. Cotton absorbs sweat but does not move it away from your body like dry-wicking materials do — this leads to bunched up bottoms and cranky yogis.
Solution: Try on your workout bottoms (whether they’re mid-length or full-length) before buying. For yoga-style bottoms, choose a size that fits snugly around the hips and thighs, but that are not so tight that they restrict your movement. Look for dry-wicking bottoms — we love Reebok’s PlayDry line, good quality at a good price — and underwear like Patagonia’s active hipster.
Nausea: The urge to barf usually comes when you push yourself harder than usual during a workout. According to Livestrong, maximal aerobic exercise — greater than 85% or higher — affects your gastrointestinal tract. The body redirects the blood to the muscles being most used and reduces blood to the GI system, slowing down digestion. This interruption causes the feeling of the need to throw up. You can also get nauseous if you drink too much water or not enough.
Solution: Slow down the intensity or stop your workout as soon as you feel like you’re going to throw up. You’ll be doing yourself and the people around you a favor! Make sure you’re fueling your body correctly before a workout and at the right time. A light meal one or two hours before exercise is optimal.
Muscle Twitches: Nothing is more annoying than having your quad twitch away while you’re at the dinner table. Known scientifically as benign fasciculation, it usually occurs after an intense workout from lactic acid buildup or “excited” muscles. Don’t freak out when your muscles twitch; it usually stops when you move the muscle and doesn’t last long. Talk to your doctor if your muscles twitch during movement as this could be a sign of a serious neurological disease.
Solution: Warm up before you work out and ease into a higher intensity. Cool down and stretch afterward. Also, make sure to properly hydrate and replace lost electrolytes.
Headaches: If you just finished a vigorous workout and feel a throbbing pain on both sides of your head that lasts anywhere between five minutes and 48 hours, you’re most likely experiencing a “primary” exercise headache. This could be caused by lack of adequate warmup, low blood sugar or even from changes in blood flow to the brain.
“Secondary” exercise headaches can also include vomiting, visual changes and neck stiffness, and can last for several days. The Mayo Clinic says that secondary exercise headaches are caused by an underlying, often serious, problem within the brain — such as bleeding or a tumor — or outside the brain — such as coronary artery disease. Go see a doctor immediately!
Solution: See your doctor for the best solution for exercise headaches. He or she may prescribe you an anti-inflammatory drug. The Mayo Clinic says that exercise headaches tend to occur more often when the weather is hot and humid, or if you’re exercising at high altitudes so you may want to avoid exercising in these conditions. Make sure you’re fueling your body correctly to avoid hypoglycemia (i.e., low blood sugar). If you have symptoms of a secondary exercise headache, talk to your doctor ASAP.