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headaches during cardio

i do 50 minutes of cardio every day... in the past two weeks i've started to get a headache in the middle of my cardio workouts. it's usually just a twinge of tightness on the top right side of my head. by the time i'm finished and even hours later it's a full blown tension headache. i am prone to headaches and migranes, but i think this is completely bizzare, and not one of my normal headache triggers. i eat 1200 calories a day (sometimes less) of usually whole foods, and drink about a gallon of water a day, so i don't think it has anything to do with nourishment or hydration... all i can think is that i'm stressing over the workout, worrying if it's effective enough. maybe it's a true tension headache and i'm just not noticing it in my neck first. i do have a stress/tension problem, that tends to get out of control pretty fast.


Wed. Apr 25, 11:30pm

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yup, watch your breathing! I had the same problem and it turns out that as the workout progressed I was taking short, shallow breaths because it was getting harder to continue...natural, of course, but your body needs more, not less, oxygen. So try to focus on your breathing and taking controlled breaths, that should help.
And you may want to check your sneakers and see if they're still suportive. You may be slapping too hard on the treadmill and jarring your head into a headache!

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:42 AM

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Drink way more water!

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 9:28 AM

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op here-

i'll pay attention to my breathing and drink more than a gallon of water to see if that helps... thanks for the input. i think i'll also see about a chiropractic adjustment more than once a month too, i might be out of alignment.

o i know it's not my shoes, they're only a month old. this is my second pair of the same shoe because i loved my first ones so much.... women's adidas brevard

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 10:13 AM

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You may not be eating enough; 1200 calories a day and sometimes less, with 50 minutes of cardio, doesn't sound like enough calories.

But, I doubt that has to do with your headaches. If they persist, since they start in one specific place, bring it up with your doctor. Can't hurt to have it checked out, in case it's something serious!

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 10:53 AM

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I have a friend who has a cardiovascular disease, and she gets headaches/migraines when her heart rate goes above a certain level-not saying that this is your problem, but there could be many many reasons for you to be getting headaches during your workout.

-not taking in enough calories-1200 is okay if you are already really small or just dieting and not exercising, but for most of us, 1200 is not enough to fuel your body.
-being dehydrated
-taking in too much caffeine
-high blood pressure
-exercise induced asthma

I would get a checkup if it has been a while, this could be absolutely nothing, but you want to make sure you are being safe and healthy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:33 PM

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I would urge you to see a physician. If you are expereincing high blood pressure with exercise and getting a headache that could be a serious problem. I am the type that has a hard problem not going to the gym when I'm sick or injured but if I were you I wouldn't be doing cardio until I got it checked out. Good luck, let us know how you do.

Friday, April 27, 2007, 4:55 PM

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op here-

thanks for the concern everyone! i have a few things to discuss with my dr. anyway, i'll be making an appointment this upcoming week. i'll let you know what he says.

i made an effort to pay attention to my breathing to keep it steady and it also kept me more relaxed... that seemed to help a lot!

Saturday, April 28, 2007, 12:04 PM

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To the OP

Actually, I find that drinking only water during workouts can cause headaches (and swelling in hands and feet). Drinking electrolyte solutions (such as gatorade) or using the "energy gels" and things like "gu" (they are like packs of syrup with electrolytes (Potassium/sodium) helps to eliminate both headaches and the swelling.

You need to be careful to replace the salts and electrolytes lost during sweating by similar solutions---otherwise you could cause a dangerous imbalance in your electrolytes. Not to scare you, but "hyponatremia" (too much water in the body vs, electrolytes) could kill you...

The other thing is to follow your workout with a small carb-high snack to help your body "reload" on glycogen (which will help you from getting too tired the next day.)

Monday, April 30, 2007, 12:46 AM

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Oh and 1 other thing-- if your urine is very clear in color and not a light "lemon yellow" in color, that could mean that you are taking in too much water....

Monday, April 30, 2007, 12:47 AM

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Oops, I lied, 1 more comment... I found some links to articles about water intoxication/ hyponatremia deaths...

I don't know if you recall, but a college fraternity pledge died a few years ago because his fraternity "brothers" forced him to drink gallons of water. He developed Hyponatremia and in essence "drowned" in his bodily fluids....

Recently, a woman died from drinking too much water as well...

Radio Station Contestant Death

Hyponatremia Article relating to fitness

Monday, April 30, 2007, 12:58 AM

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op here- i went to the dr. this morning before work. he really didn't have a whole lot to say about it. he said he was stumped. he said it's definately a vascular phenomenon but not sure what it could be. he suggested i take advil before my workouts to try and prevent it, keep drinking lots of water, watch my breathing and see what happens. if it gets worse the obviously i need to go back to discuss it more.

but i'm starting to think it's truly stress doing it to me. i have TMJ and i suspect i'm clenching my teeth when i'm doing cardio. when i clench i get awful headaces. i'm going to try working out with my tmj appliance and see if that helps. good thing it isn't visible, it's just slightly thicker than an invisalign tray. hopefully that's the problem, and it isn't something more serious.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007, 11:33 AM

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after reading all your comments, I'm inclined to believe its stress as well. That would also explain why focusing on your breathing helped! do you do any yoga or tai chi? It might help to do something like that before or after your workouts.

I used to have TMJ too! What a pain. I can see how that would give you a headache. I hope the appliance helps during your cardio. Good luck!

Thursday, May 03, 2007, 12:37 AM

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It could also be that you need a Chiropractic adjustment and the pounding of a cardio exercise (running, aerobics, kickboxing, speed walking, etc) could be aggravating a mis-alignment. That used to happen to me because my neck was out. It was a dull, but painful and persistent headache that was also accompanied by what I call a brain fog, like I was minutes from fainting.

If this isn't the case for you, stress and your TMJ is the more likely culprit!

Thursday, May 03, 2007, 7:28 AM

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Headaches during Cardio

I too, get headaches during my cardio. They last about 10 minutes, no longer usually. Today my right eye turned bloodshot too, it hurt. I am thinking it may be caused by either poor breathing, or the fact that I drink my morning coffee before the workout.

Thursday, January 17, 2008, 7:00 PM

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Yellow urine

Actually you want your urine to be on the clearer side. Too yellow means you need to drink MORE water and that you may be dehydrated!

Thursday, January 17, 2008, 7:03 PM

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Yeah actually I get bad tension headaches whenever I engage in intense cardio. I asked my mom and she said probably I'm not getting enough oxygen into my brain (probably because I'm not breathing enough). I also agree that you should boost your cals, esp for the amount of cardio you do everyday.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 2:48 AM

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I'd say try feverfew. Take 2 before your workout.

I used to get migraines, then I quit eating wheat and started taking feverfew. Now, I don't get migraines.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 2:44 PM

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I have anxiety and also felt the need to walk immediatly from leg presses to lie down as my head felt like it exploded inside ..i had to leave work the day after due to a headache which moved from the lower back skull to my temples...i felt bad but also just wanted to knock someone out from the pain
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