Can you tell me why I get headache after strenuous exercise? I do cv work in the gym, a step class twice a week and enjoy outdoor walking, but whenever I get out of breath I feel a headache coming on. This headache lasts about 36 hours and is not lessened at all by the use of painkillers. I would like to run the Race for Life but am reluctant to run because I know I will get a headache.
Is it my breathing technique or could it be that I am slightly overweight and it’s putting a strain on me?
Exercise-induced headaches are a relatively well documented condition. It usually occurs shortly after starting an exercise programme.
More blood is needed in the head, neck and scalp during physical exercise. As a result of this the blood vessels around the brain may swell causing an increase in pressure within the skull.
I would recommend that you cut back on the frequency and intensity of your training. Stick with just one activity e.g. walking for a few weeks. Once your headaches stabilise then you can start to increase your training level.
Also ensure that you are taking on enough water before and after exercise, as dehydration can also be a trigger for headaches.
If your symptoms persist, I would recommend that you consult your doctor.
Angela Benjamin MScMCSP SRP