When you’re working out, whether you’re an avid gym goer or you’re new to the fitness scene, it’s so important to listen to your body. Watching for warning signs such as joint pain, difficulty breathing and blurred vision can help you to avoid health problems and serious injury.
Let’s take a look at some of the signs you may be pushing your body a little too hard below.
The 6 exercise warning signs to look out for
1. Difficulty breathing
Having trouble breathing is one of the first signs to look out for when exercising. But there’s a difference between the heavy breathing that occurs when exercising strenuously and breathing caused by a medical issue.
Breathing difficulties include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing or tightness in your throat. This can result from exercise-induced asthma or having a hiatal hernia. Your age, lifestyle and weight could all contribute to breathing difficulties. After 30, the amount of air that’s able to flow into our lungs slowly decreases, as your diaphragm muscles weaken.
Be sure to take a break if you’re finding it difficult to breathe during exercise and consult your GP to discern the root of the problem.
2. A high heart rate that doesn’t stop during interval breaks
It’s important to monitor your heart rate when you’re working out. When you first start, it’s a good idea to find your ideal target heart rate. This is calculated by looking at the goals you have established for your fitness regime, and then using a percentage of your maximum heart rate. You may want to start at 45 to 55 percent of your maximum, and increase to 65 to 75 percent when you’re fitter.
Your heart rate should gradually slow down when you stop exercising. If your heart rate doesn’t return to a normal beats per minute (BPM) ratio when you stop, this could be a sign that you have an underlying heart condition or high blood pressure. Be sure to have this checked by a GP.
3. Joint pain
Joint pain is often caused by the muscles around the joint being torn, or the joint capsules being stretched (known as a sprain). Subluxation is also the partial dislocation of the joint (you’ll definitely know about this one if it happens to you).
Joint injury usually occurs in three stages: the acute or inflammatory stage (which usually lasts around four to six days), the repair stage (which lasts around 14 to 21 days after the injury), and the chronic stage, which only occurs if the healing process has been disrupted.
To prevent joint pain, avoiding locking your joints when exercising. Strengthening your muscles is another good way to prevent injury, as well as using joint lubrication products before your workout.
Stop exercising immediately if you experience joint pain.
4. Blurred vision
Blurred vision is a symptom that can indicate bigger problems that need attention. It’s common for our senses to be slightly numbed while performing intense exercises, as all our body’s energy goes in to performing the task at hand. But blurred vision can be a dangerous warning sign that you’re taking it a little too far.
Blurred vision is often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, dizziness, fatigue or extreme thirst, and can be caused by low blood pressure or hypotension. Dehydration, allergic reactions and a lack of nutrients in the body can make matters worse.
If you experience blurred vision while exercising, stop immediately. Your GP should be able to conduct tests to help you figure out the cause of the problem. In the meantime, sit down, have a drink of water and a little snack.
5. Head or neck ache during high-intensity training
Head or neck ache during exercise usually means that you are overusing the muscles in the neck and shoulders. This puts strain on your joints, and can also result in bigger problems like pinched nerves. Poor posture during activity can lead to head or neck ache, so it’s important to maintain a neutral posture to make sure the trapezius muscle (the large diamond-shaped muscle at the back of the neck) isn’t overworked.
Whether you’re cycling, swimming, running or doing yoga, head and neck pain can be prevented by maintaining a good posture and making sure you stay looking up and out in front of you, rather than down.
If you’re experiencing head or neck pain during exercise, a trip to your physiotherapist, or treating yourself to a muscle-soothing massage could do just the trick.
6. Heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when your sweat can’t evaporate quickly enough to be able to keep your body cool. Symptoms include muscle cramps, a deterioration in your sporting performance or ability to complete your task, headaches and dizziness.
Heat exhaustion can be easily prevented by staying hydrated before, during and after sporting activities, as well as avoiding exercising in the hottest parts of the day. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, take a break from your exercise and make a visit to your GP to check there isn’t another underlying medical issue.
Why you should respect your body’s warning signs
Part of any regular fitness regime should be making sure that you are listening to what your body is telling you. You need to take into account your age, weight, fitness level and any previous injuries to make sure you’re not attempting an exercise that could cause more harm than good.
Nearly everyone is going to have certain factors that limit them in their training program, and it’s important to accept that imperfections are a part of being human. With a little bit of research, preparation, and paying attention to your body, you can stay healthy and avoid injury while exercising.
Overall, factors that you need to take into account when developing your training program include your:
- blood pressure
- circulatory system performance
- neurological system performance
- muscle growth
- fitness level
- the environment around you in terms of the temperature and humidity
Our bodies are amazing and are definitely able to adapt to a number of circumstances. But it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.
Work with professionals to make sure you’re exercising safely
There’s nothing wrong with having a helping hand with exercising, especially if you’re just starting out. The team at Bailey Fitness have expert personal trainers on hand to make sure you’re exercising according to your own goals. With gyms in Baldivis, Southern River and Morley you can drop by or get in touch to find out how we can help you on your health and fitness journey.