why does my body itch when i work out

Youre on a run and in a nice groove. Your runners high kicks in and youve shed a couple seconds off your pace. Then all of a sudden pain slowly creeps up your legs, like tiny ants are marching up and down. One of the most common, overwhelming sensations a runner can experience is itchy legs. In fact, it can be so uncomfortablethat youve got to stop to scratch your legs. Weve all been there. Its anannoying situations that can haltyour run. And no matter how much you scratch, the itchy sensation doesnt seem to go away. Sigh. Unfortunately Coach Lora Erickson, owner of, has experienced the nuances of itchy legs. But thankfully for us, we were able to pick her brain about itand how to prevent the awful situation. What Causes A Runner s Legs To Itch?
Ladies, watch out if you happen to shower more than once a day. Too many showers can wash away some of the skins natural oils that keep it moist, leaving your skin and itchy. Dry air is another contributing factor, especially during the cold winter months. Also something to consider for women is non-shaved legs. A lot of women don t shave their legs in the winter, but that stubble can cause itchingespecially when wearing running tights, says Erickson. Some fabrics can also irritate the skin and wick away moisture, leaving the skin even dryer. Laundry detergent may also be the culprit. Opt for sensitive skin detergent to avoid any irritation. Runners itch also seems to be more common in those who are getting back in shape. If youve taken some time off of running and are just getting back into it, you may also experience uncomfortable welts or rashes.


I believe this is due to a change in capillaries action, often causing an itchy sensation. In severe cases exercise-induced urticarial can occur, resulting in hives or raised welts during exercising, shares Erickson. After a few work out sessions, your legs will get used to moving and the itch should subside. If you experience rashes or welts, after a week, you should speak with your doctor. Why Do Legs Tend To Itch More In Cold Weather? Cold weather usually has less humidity, which means dry air. As a coach, I see more dehydration in the winter because of the dry air. We lose most of our moisture through breathing and winter is rarely the time that we feel like. Replenishment is a struggle in the winter, leaving us in a dehydrated state, contributing to dry skin, says Erickson. What Can You Do To Prevent Itchiness? Erickson says there are plenty of steps you can do to prevent itchy legs. Stay hydrated. Use moisturizing after showering. Consider changing your laundry detergent to something milder. Keep exercising to allow the body to adapt. Shave your legs! Yes, even in the winter. Dear Reader, Its good youre not running away from your itching issue! Trying to get to the bottom of whats causing this itch is smart. Heres why: While most causes of itching after physical activity are harmless (and also, relatively common), in rare cases, the mad itching could be indicative of a more serious health issue. First, a few questions: Has the itching just started? Do you experience itchy legs at other times besides right after walking?


Perhaps after eating certain foods? Or, after experiencing emotional stress? Are there additional symptoms that accompany your itchy legs? Are you feeling pain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, its probably a good idea to visit your health care provider in order to rule out any serious health conditions. Columbia students on the Morningside campus can contact ; students on the Medical Center campus can reach out to. Now, lets talk about a number of issues that could. You mentioned that you don't exercise very often. Consider this: When you increase physical activity, the little capillaries in your skin expand rapidly to increase blood flow, which triggers neighboring nerves to send impulses that the brain interprets as an itching sensation. This generally decreases as your body adjusts to the new workout routine. If exercise is nothing new for you, it's more likely a dry skin issue (see below). Since you didnt mention any other symptoms, it could be that dry skin is the culprit. Are you walking outside or inside? Often, dry weather conditions can cause or exacerbate dry skin. If this is the case, using lotion, investing in a humidifier, and staying hydrated can all help combat dry skin. Skin irritation. Have you switched detergents, started using a new lotion, or are you using a new soap? If so, try eliminating these products one-by-one and see if the itching subsides. Perhaps youve recently switched up your running gear? Its generally recommended that individuals with sensitive skin stick to loose cotton clothes when working out and avoid synthetic materials.


Poor blood circulation. When you exercise, blood is directed to the muscles in your body that are doing the most work. Certain conditions, such as peripheral artery disease, can cause blood vessels to narrow, thereby interfering with circulation and potentially causing pain or tingling. If you experience pain in addition to itching, its a good idea to visit your health care provider. Cholinergic urticarial. This is a relatively common immune system disorder which is characterized by a skin reaction (in the form of ). The hives appear in response to an increase of body temperature from anxiety, sweat, heat, emotional stress, and/or physical activity. Some folks experience a rash only on certain parts of the body (such as their legs). Working out in cooler and dryer environments, decreasing exercise intensity, and ending physical activity as soon as symptoms appear can be of some benefit. In very rare cases, exercise-induced anaphylaxis could cause itchy legs by way of hives; however, this condition is often accompanied by other, more serious, symptoms. Seek immediate medical attention if you have hives or a rash in addition to any of the following symptoms: Difficulty swallowing or breathing, wheezing, or feelings of tightness in the chest or throat. Sometimes, itchy legs can be combated simply by allowing more time for your body to cool down after physical activity. Talk with your health care provider about diagnosing and treating your itchy legs. Together you can come up with a plan and/or treatment that will take the scratch out of your stride. Alice!

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