04/06/2014 09:22 BST | Updated 04/08/2014 06:59 BST

Embarrassing Bodies - The Bodily Oddities of Exercising and How to Cure Them

When you think of body changes caused by exercise, most people think of the usual... wheezing, flushed face and being out of breath. However, what you might not realize is that exercising bodily oddities can include everything from runny noses and diarrhea to rashes. These bodily oddities are becoming increasingly common but, strangely, are something that people find difficult to talk about. Some even avoid exercise rather than acknowledge them.

This is a shame because most of the problems have simple explanations and can be easily cured. Here are 5 common problems, their causes, and how to cure them.


Many runners experience runny noses and other allergic reactions when exercising. This can be irritating and even make you question if you're overtraining. Usually, this is caused by exercise induced Rhinitis, and can be due to an underlying infection, or allergies like Hay Fever. Don't worry, it won't do you any real harm. It's just annoying.

SOLUTION: You can reduce the severity of your Rhinitis by using a nasal spray. Alternatively, try removing dairy products from your diet for a while and see if it makes a difference. There have been reports suggesting that dairy induces more mucus in some individuals. If this doesn't work, contact your doctor to see if a course of antibiotics is necessary.



This is quite common and can occur during or immediately after your run. Distance athletes suffer from this all the time. The actual cause of the bowel irritation remains a debatable, but research suggests that it is caused by changes to blood circulation during running. E.g. as more blood is drawn into the muscles over the course of the run, there is less blood available to aid digestion, speeding up the process and resulting in diarrhea. This means that dietary intake also becomes a factor.

SOLUTION: Leave 2 hours between eating and going for your run. You could also reduce your fibre, caffeine, dairy and fruit intakes, all are linked as contributors to the problem.


One reason could be that you're working too hard. Whenever you feel dizzy exercising always bring the intensity down. If it persists on the treadmill, even under moderate exercise, you're probably experiencing motion sickness. This happens because there is a discrepancy between the motion your inner ear is sensing and your eyes inability to pick up any actual distance being travelled.

SOLUTION: Try fixating on a particular spot whilst running. This will help your brain recognise what is happening. Alternatively, try exercising on the end treadmill to avoid distractions either side of you, and avoid running in front of mirrors. Motion sickness should decrease in severity over time as you become more acclimatised to using a treadmill. If it doesn't, try running outdoors.


This is a sign that your muscles are fatiguing and you're going through the barrier of the comfortable into the uncomfortable. What's actually happening is that some muscle fibers are working whilst others are resting, and then vice-versa.

Shaking muscles are more common in yoga than other workouts because, in yoga, as opposed to strength training, progress is made on the duration of a hold rather than the weight or number of repetitions of an exercise so, as the muscle is under strain for longer, the signs of fatigue are greater.

SOLUTION: This is normal - a necessary evil for progression on long holds. Bear with it as it'll subside as you get stronger (at least in that position). However, if you begin shaking early into the class, perhaps you're dehydrated or haven't fully recovered from previous exercise. Mention this to your instructor.



Stitches occur during most higher intensity workouts. The actual cause, or symptoms, is still relatively unknown; although, research suggests they are due to organs pulling down on the diaphragm during exercise. Nonetheless, as swimmers also experience stitches, this shows there are other causes too, as the above wouldn't affect swimmers.

SOLUTION: As stitches happen to healthy people during exercise, not elsewhere, and are short-lived, I wouldn't worry. However, they can be annoying so here are some tips to avoid them:

• Stay hydrated

• Leave 2 hours between working out and exercising

• Increase the intensity of your workout gently

I hope this helps and, if you have any embarrassing bodily oddities that you'd like me to discuss, contact me anonymously and I'll answer them again in an upcoming blog.

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