How can I prevent exercise headaches in hot weather?
May 29, 2012 7:48 AM Subscribe
Exercise headaches in hot weather: how to treat (or better yet, prevent) them?
I’m 27, female, and in reasonably decent shape. For all of my adult life, I’ve gotten horrible exercise headaches after moderate-to-intense exercise in hot weather. The headaches are bilateral and throbbing. I’ve occasionally experienced photophobia along with the headaches. Onset is typically minutes after ending exercise. It’s to the point where I literally cannot go for a run in hot weather (i.e., at least 80 degrees and humid) without getting a severe headache that sometimes lasts for hours. I’ve dealt with this by exercising inside when it’s hot, but I love spending time outdoors and would like to be able to exercise outside year round or close to it.
Possible related factor: I sweat much, much more than the average person. It’s always been this way, regardless of my level of fitness. After an (indoor) soccer game, the other people on my team look hot and sweaty. I look like I’ve just stepped out of a swimming pool, and my face is a bright, bright red.
I’ve been told that sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, etc. are gimmicky and unnecessary. What I’m wondering, though, is if they might be a good option for me, i.e., someone who sweats an inordinate amount and is probably losing a lot of sodium in addition to water. Rehydrating with water alone is not working.
I’m hesitant to try things out without at least some idea of whether or not they’ll work because, frankly, I’m afraid of getting another headache. The last severe exercise headache I got left me on the floor, in tears and in agony, for hours.
If you have successfully prevented or treated exercise headaches, how did you do it? Do you use Gatorade or another sports drink (or perhaps something you concocted yourself)? Just to reiterate: rehydrating with water alone has not worked, regardless of how much I drink and when I drink it.
(Oh, also: exercising early in the morning is not an option. The heat index has not dropped below 80 degrees for the last 72 hours here. It’s not uncommon for us to have a month-long stretch or more where the temperature never drops below 85 degrees. With the humidity, it often feels much warmer than it is. My thyroid levels were tested for another unrelated reason and are normal. My blood pressure is normal. Finally, the only medication I’m on is a hormonal contraceptive.)