Have you ever found yourself experiencing weird sensations all over your body during a workout? Aside from the usual burn of an intense gym session, you might notice your thighs have started to itch, you're not breathing normally, and you suddenly really need to use the bathroom. You may even find yourself wondering, “Why does my stomach feel cold when I exercise?” All of these weird things that can happen to your body during a workout can be pretty darn confusing.
Since none of these feelings are actually uncommon, Elite Daily spoke to several wellness and fitness experts to get explanations on the topic of weird bodily sensations during and after exercising. There are several interesting points you may not have thought of before hitting the gym.
It’s important to keep in mind that “[your] body doesn’t like to waste energy, says Cori Lefkowith, owner of Redefining Strength, a fitness and wellness company. “When [you] work out, [your] body will increase blood flow to areas that need it and decrease blood flow to areas that don’t need it.”
Gregg D’Andrea, owner and founder of GSTARFIT, tells Elite Daily the sensations listed below are quite common — though, they can seem concerning — when you are doing an intense workout. So if you’re curious about the weird things you may feel during a workout, and why they happen, read on to see what the experts have to say.
1. Your stomach could get cold.
A lot of people say their stomachs get cold after workouts, and there’s a scientific reason why. According to D’Andrea, when you’re doing an intense workout, mostly involving your legs, “blood pooling” may occur. This is when oxygenated blood is depleted because of rigorous exercise, and your legs message your brain for more of it. As the blood heads to where it needs to be, it travels through your gut.
So basically, your stomach might get cold after a workout because, while you're exercising, your cardiovascular system pulls the blood to your legs, away from other organs, like your digestive system. The reduced blood flow into the gastrointestinal system can leave your stomach with that weird, cold feeling.
2. You may have to use the bathroom.
D’Andrea adds the blood pooling process can lead to nauseousness, as well as lightheadedness and the need to go to the bathroom. Lefkowith explains it’s not out of the ordinary for exercise to make you use the bathroom more regularly in general. “Exercise causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increase, which can kickstart intestinal contractions. These natural contractions can cause your digestive process to happen more quickly, so you have to poop more frequently too,” she says.
Angie Miller, MS, LPC, and NASM master instructor, says you might even pee a bit, “which may mean you need to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles or lower your impact.”
3. You might twitch long after your workout ends.
According to an article by livestrong.com, twitching can be common as a result of fatigued muscles or low levels of electrolytes. The solution? You should drink lots of water or sports drinks that have electrolytes so you can replace the minerals your body has lost.
Lefkowith agrees that fatigued muscles and an imbalance of electrolytes can both lead to post-workout twitching. “Remember that hydration isn’t just about drinking enough water, but also about balancing levels of magnesium, potassium, sodium, and other minerals,” she says. And if you experience pain when you’re twitching that persists for more than few days, you might have a muscle strain or tear that should be examined by a medical professional.
4. Your thighs could itch.
If you’re hitting up the gym after taking an extended break from working out, your thighs may start to itch. The reason for this, according to Lefkowith, is your arteries and capillaries expand when you work out, pumping more blood to your muscles. When you’re starting back at the gym after a break, you’re not as conditioned. Therefore, Lefkowith explains your capillaries — which are super small blood vessels — can collapse, not allowing the best amount of blood flow to get to your muscles. “When the capillaries then expand, this can stimulate surrounding nerves. Our brain interprets these signals as itching,” Lefkowith says.
Cold weather can also lead to your thighs itching. Lefkowith explains, “The cold can also affect us due to lower humidity levels, and often the fact that we are less hydrated in general [in the cold] and can suffer from dry skin, [which can lead] to itching when you’re running.” She stresses choosing workout pants that don’t rub or irritate your skin is crucial.
5. Your breathing may feel extra labored.
There's an important difference between heavy breathing and labored breathing when it comes to working out. Rebecca Louise, founder of fitness app BURN by Rebecca Louise, tells Elite Daily, “When we exercise, it sounds silly, we often forget to breathe. We are concentrating so hard on what move we are [doing] and getting our bodies to move a certain way, that we often forget to do the one simple thing, take a breath! When you get up onto your feet from floor exercises, it is not uncommon to feel a little wheezy or faint.”
Louise’s advice: “Make sure you are taking note of inhaling and exhaling through exercise to avoid this [from] happening.”
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