How Come Every Time I Workout I Get a Headache?

If you’re getting a headache every time you work out, there could be a few different reasons behind it. Learn more about what might be causing your post-workout headaches and what you can do to prevent them.


If you have ever been working out and started to experience a headache, you are certainly not alone. Exercise-induced headaches are actually a fairly common phenomenon, which can be caused by interruptions in the body’s natural physical processes. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of exercise-induced headaches and look at some strategies for preventing and managing these frustrating symptoms.

There are many possible causes of exercise-induced headaches, with dehydration or nutrient deficiency being two of the most common. When your body is expending energy doing physical activities, it can become quickly dehydrated if it isn’t receiving adequate fluids or electrolytes. In order to prevent dehydration-related headache symptoms while exercising, it is important that athletes drink enough fluids prior to and during their workouts.

Nutrient deficiency is another potential cause of exercise-induced headaches — specifically B vitamins like B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 (cobalamin). Without adequate supplies of these key nutrients, athletes may be more susceptible to experiencing headaches event after relatively mild levels of physical activity. To avoid this problem, make sure you include plenty of nutrient-rich foods in your diet from sources such as poultry, fish, eggs and dark green leafy vegetables.

Possible Causes of Post-Workout Headaches

Post-workout headaches can be difficult to deal with, hampering your progress as you try to get in shape. The good news is that there are several possible causes of post-workout headaches, and with some investigation and determination, you can find the source of your headache and work to prevent it from happening again. Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes that could be behind your post-workout headaches.


Dehydration can cause both a headache and fatigue. Most athletes should drink two to three cups of fluid (about 16-24 ounces) an hour prior to exercise and continue drinking throughout the workout session. Drinking fluids before, during, and after your workout will help replace lost liquids, reduce the risk of dehydration, and relieve some types of headaches associated with exercise. It’s important to not only have water but also sports drinks that contain sodium as this helps balance electrolytes lost through sweat and keep you hydrated longer.

Vasodilation caused by intense exercise or physical activity combined with dehydration can cause headaches during or immediately after a strenuous exercise session. Most experts warn against using over-the-counter pain medications for headache pain due to their potential side effects when combined with vigorous physical activity. However, if you feel that it’s necessary to take one for relief from post-workout headaches, make sure your doctor is aware first before doing so

Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies can play a large role in post-workout headaches, especially when the person has not implemented sufficient fuel pre- or post-exercise. While exercising, the body is utilizing multiple sources of energy such as carbohydrate stores, fat stores, and creatine phosphate. When these energy sources are depleted and are not replaced during exercise with water and electrolytes then adrenal fatigue can occur, which leads to headaches. It is important to maintain adequate levels of magnesium and potassium in particular as both play a key role in maintaining proper hydration and hormone balance. Low blood sugar levels due to inadequate fueling before or after exercise can also cause headaches. Furthermore, inadequate intake of dietary protein following exercise has been linked to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which is one possible cause of post-workout headaches.


When it comes to post-workout headaches, one of the most common causes is over-exertion. Too much exercise in a short period of time can cause your body to become dehydrated, resulting in a headache. Over-exertion can also cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase faster than normal during your workout, which can result in a headache once you stop exercising. This type of headache usually subsides within an hour after stopping your workout. To prevent this from happening again, try slowing down during your workout and evenly distribute your energy over the course of the exercise routine so that you don’t become too tired too quickly. Also make sure to stay hydrated with water throughout and following the session to ensure that dehydration does not set in and cause a headache.

Low Blood Sugar Levels

Low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia, can often cause post-workout headaches due to the depletion of glucose from one’s body during exercise. Depending on the type of workout and duration as well as other factors such as diet, dehydration and stress levels, an individual’s blood sugar levels can drop significantly requiring the replenishment of glucose. If enough glucose is not replaced in time, a person may experience symptoms associated with low blood sugar including dizziness, nausea and headaches. Therefore it is important to be aware of the signs of hypoglycemia and to practice proper nutrition in order to prevent it from occurring.

In order to prevent a post-workout headache caused by low blood sugar levels, prior to exercising it is essential to ensure that your body is properly fueled. Eating snacks high in protein and healthy complex carbohydrates prior to working out will ensure that your body has enough energy during strenuous physical activity. Additionally, keeping water or sports drinks nearby when exercising can help maintain hydration levels and reduce the chance for any obvious signs of dehydration such as headaches or muscle cramps. It should also be noted that immediately after exercising one should eat meals or snacks high in protein which will help restore your energy reserves faster than just simple sugars alone.

Prevention Strategies

Exercising is not only important for physical health, but it also has many mental benefits. Unfortunately, headaches can be a common side effect. To keep headaches from interrupting the positive effects of a workout routine, it’s important to understand why they occur and how to prevent them. This article will explore the reasons why working out can cause headaches and provide some prevention strategies.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is key to avoiding post-workout headaches. During exercise, our body loses a lot of water through sweat, which is why it is important to replace fluid levels in order to avoid headache symptoms. It’s recommended that you drink 2-3 cups of water within two hours prior to exercising, and at least another 8 ounces 20 minutes before starting. You should continue to hydrate during your workout and afterwards; this will help your body rehydrate and replenish electrolytes for optimal muscle performance and post-exercise recovery. As with anything else, overdoing it can lead to headaches; your best bet is to drink just enough so that you replace the fluids lost from exercise without going overboard.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet is an important part of minimizing headaches during exercise. During physical activity, your body needs more energy and nutrients to fuel itself and keep it performing at its best. Eating a healthful diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains helps your body function optimally while exercising and can reduce headaches due to low fuel reserves or dehydration. Eating small amounts throughout the day can facilitate better digestion and prevent sudden or extreme flucutations in your blood sugar level which might otherwise trigger pain. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated; drinking fluids before exercising can help maintain proper electrolyte balance within the body which may also help combat the onset of headaches during physical activity.

Listen to Your Body

Before, during and after your exercise routine, it’s vital to take the time to listen to your body and understand what it’s telling you. If you begin to feel any discomfort or pain, slow down or stop altogether. Taking time for a cool-down period will help you regulate your blood pressure and reduce the risk of headaches and other discomforts associated with overexertion. Additionally, be aware of the environmental factors such as extreme temperatures and stifling humidity that can affect your performance. Taking breaks during extended workouts in hot, humid climates will keep dehydration at bay which is another known cause of exercise-related headaches.

Be sure not to overdo your physical activities; gradually increase their length or intensity each week in order to give the body enough time to adjust accordingly. It’s important that you stay hydrated throughout any workout by drinking plenty of fluids before and throughout the entire exercise session; dehydration can worsen any existing headache symptoms, so it’s best to stay properly hydrated both before and after exercising. Finally, fuel up with a healthy snack before heading out for even light exercises like running or swimming as inadequate energy stores can lead to muscular fatigue which may result in headaches as well.

Take Breaks

Taking frequent breaks during physical activity is a great way to reduce the risk of developing a headache. You should take breaks approximately every 20 minutes during exercise, which allows your body time to rest and recover. This type of break gives your heart rate a chance to return to its resting rate and helps prevent fatigue caused by prolonged exercise. It also gives your brain time to adapt and process the changes in oxygen flow throughout the body associated with activity. Stretching also can help reduce tension and prevent headaches from exercise. Additionally, when taking breaks, make sure you are hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity.


Working out can be a great way to stay healthy, improve your physical fitness, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and boost your overall well-being. However, sometimes working out can lead to a headache. While it is possible that there may be an underlying medical condition involved, more likely the cause of the headache is related to dehydration, pushing yourself too hard when exercising or insufficient warm-up/cool-down periods.

Drinking plenty of water during workouts and before/after exercise can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding headaches afterwards. Be sure not to push yourself too hard too soon as this can make headaches more likely. Take breaks as needed and always remember to warm up properly before exercising and cool down afterwards. Lastly, if the headache persists despite these efforts or it becomes severe or incapacitating then seek medical advice immediately as this could be indicative of an underlying medical condition.

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