Written with contributions from Superfeet Wellness Experts
Running and other forms of exercise are crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially as we get older. However, running and exercise can also have an unfortunate side effect—a painful headache or two. If you're one of those who suffer from a regular exercise headache or finds yourself suffering from a headache when running, we have some tips for you to help prevent those pains.
Headache Prevention During Exercise Tip 1: Stay Hydrated
The first tip to headache prevention during a workout? Stay hydrated! Nothing will leave your head spinning and hurting faster than dehydration during a workout. Get those essential fluids you need in your body before, during and after you start exercising. Dehydration can leave your body—and especially your head—hurting. Be sure to avoid it by always having fluids nearby.
Headache Prevention During Exercise Tip 2: Fuel Your Workouts
Be sure you have the fuel you need in your body during a workout to avoid headaches. That means not only having some food in your body to have the fuel to work out, but also having the right type of fuel in your body. It's vital to have a good, solid meal with the right balance of carbohydrates and protein a few hours before you exercise. That length of time will allow your body the time to digest the fuel it needs and leave you ready to exercise. Exercising on an empty stomach can easily lead to a light and hurting head.
Headache Prevention During Exercise Tip 3: Build Intensity Gradually
Be wise when it comes to your workout pace. The harder your body works, and the more intense a workout you do, the higher the odds that your head will start to pound. Especially if you're a beginner to exercising, be sure to amp your workouts up at a steady, reasonable pace. Give your body the time it needs to adjust to the rigors a workout provides. Don't just jump in cold to a high-intensity workout after never having done one before, or run into the gym after a period of inactivity and start pumping out reps on the bench press. Be judicious in the exercising, and build up your levels gradually.
Headache Prevention During Exercise Tip 4: Warm-Up
Be sure to stretch and warm up. Be sure to ease into individual workouts too. Too much exertion in too quick of time is the recipe for a crippling headache. To prevent an exercise headache or headache when running, it's essential to get your body ready for each workout with a stretching and warm-up regimen. Find what works for you when it comes to exercise prep and be absolutely sure to do that before each workout.
Headache Prevention During Exercise Tip 5: Take It Easy
If you feel a headache coming on, stop. Don't push things. If you're exercising and you feel light-headed or feel a headache coming on, don't try to work your way through it. That will only make your headache worse, and could lead to other, more significant problems in your workout or down the road. The best advice if you do feel a little off? Stop. Give it a break. Sit down for a few minutes and grab some water or a light snack. If you feel better, give it another go at a slower pace.