I was working out with my son over his spring break a few weeks ago and in one of our workout sessions he ended up with a really bad headache. We figured he had just “bonked” which happens everyone once in a while, but had not happened to either one of us for quite some time as we make sure we have eaten something and hydrate during our workouts. After the workout we had our recovery drinks expecting the headache to ease off, but it continued on for several hours later which was definitely not normal for him.
So I did some research to try and find out what was happening to him and was it directly related to the hard work out we had just put in. As it turns out my son had succumbed to the three biggest risk factors for dehydration. First is extreme exertion, which he achieved because he really went at the Asylum workout hard and pushed himself for all that he had. Second is low fluid intake which we found out after the workout that he had not been hydrating well the day before and this was an early morning workout. Third was warm weather which was new as it was one of the first warm days we had coming out of winter and he was sweating a lot more than he had been as the temperature in the gym was higher than it had been for the past week.
As it turns out when you are low on fluids the body breaks down muscle tissue, triggering inflammation. The chemicals for this process then invade the brain’s pain centers and give you the headache.
So after my son continued to re-hydrate for the next several hours after the workout the headache went away and we all learned something. Make sure you are well hydrated before your workout! As this was the first time this has happened to him and he has been working out for a few years now, we chalked it up to a rare mishap and of course were right back at it the next day with no bad side effects or pounding headaches.
So if you find yourself with a headache after your workout sometime in the future odds are that you just need some time and liquids to make it go away proving the old saying that you need to hydrate before you work out once again.