We all have plenty of legitimate—and illegitimate—reasons to skip regular exercise. Whether you exercise regularly or are considering starting a workout routine, don’t let headaches stop you before you even begin.
If you’re participating in strenuous activity—like strength training—you shouldn’t be holding your breath the entire time. If you find yourself getting lightheaded (or feel a headache coming on), during or immediately after your workout, then check your breathing. If you can’t breathe properly during your training, then either you’re pushing yourself too hard, or you’re doing the exercise incorrectly.
For strength training, you should be able to comfortably complete up to 15 repetitions of your exercise. Keep in mind, it’s just as important to focus on your breathing during the exercise, as it is to complete the exercise itself.
To maximise the circulation of oxygen in your muscles, it’s necessary to exhale when you’re lifting and inhale when you’re lowering your weight. If you can’t do this, you may need to decrease the amount of weight you’re trying to lift.
If you’re experiencing headaches later in the day—perhaps hours after your workout—you may have not realised it’s exercise-related. The culprit may be skipping your pre-workout warm-up. If you’re jumping straight on the treadmill and pushing your limits as soon as you get to the gym, your body can have trouble compensating for the surge in blood flow. The headache may not catch up to you until later in the day.
So be sure to start incorporating warm-up exercises into your workout routine to try and eliminate those pesky headaches.
During this year of lockdown, it’s a great time to get outside and get exercising. If headaches are keeping you away, make sure you’re staying hydrated, breathing during your exercises, and warming up before you get moving to make your workout count—without the pain.