Fit facts: Avoiding migraines and runny noses

Preventing migraine

You expect some pain when you work out, but not this much -- certainly not a severe, throbbing headache that's intensified by light, sound and movement and can make you nauseous. Unfortunately, research says exercise can stimulate migraines, which plague an estimated 28 million Americans.

To prevent an exercise-induced migraine, Indiana University researchers recommend conducting a warm-up and cool-down and gradually increasing your intensity before going all out. They also suggest maintaining proper hydration, avoiding high heat and humidity and practicing good breathing techniques, especially when weight training or running. (For lifting, don't hold your breath; exhale during the "lift" phase and inhale during the return. In running, relax and breathe naturally.)

Other general recommendations include avoiding trigger foods (chocolate, wine and coffee are the most common) and eating three to six well-balanced, evenly-spaced meals daily to avoid low blood sugar. And ask your doctor about supplementing your diet with 200 mg of riboflavin and/or 200 mg of magnesium citrate twice daily.

Pain reliever or placebo

Plagued by stiff knees or joints? According to a new study, taking the supplement glucosamine-chondroitin may not give you much relief. Researchers at the University of Utah cared for 1,583 patients suffering from knee arthritis with one of five daily treatments: glucosamine, chondroitin, a combined dosage of glucosamine and chondroitin, a prescription painkiller, or a placebo.

After 24 weeks researchers found that either alone or in combination, glucosamine and chondroitin were ineffective in reducing pain for most patients. The combination did appear to benefit a small sub-group of patients whose pain was rated more severe. Patients who took the prescription drug also reported improved results.

Nose on the run

Does your nose seem to run as fast as your legs during a workout? Well, you're not alone. According to researchers at the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Clinic of Colorado, the condition, called exercise-induced rhinitis, is fairly common, especially in athletes.

Symptoms include a runny nose, nasal congestion and post-nasal drip. William S. Silvers, M.D., of the Allergy/Asthma clinic, suggests treating exercise-induced rhinitis before symptoms start (pre-workout) with an intranasal ipratroprium bromide spray or an intranasal steroid spray, both prescription only. You can also try an over-the-counter nasal saline spray.

Did you know?

Women who regularly train with weights may reduce body fat by nearly four percent, according to University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers.

Try this

Lying Hamstring Stretch

Tight hamstrings are common among athletes, particularly runners and cyclists, and can negatively affect your posture. To loosen up, try the following after a workout:

  • Lie on your back and bend your left knee.
  • Loop a towel or cord around the bottom of your foot.
  • Raise and straighten your leg until you feel a stretch in the hamstring. Be careful not to overstretch.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Release it, and repeat with your right leg.

Freelance writer Frank Claps is a certified strength and conditioning specialist who operates Fitness For Any Body, a personal training service in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

Discuss This Article