A Hard workout can bring on anything on anything from dizziness to cramps. But which niggles are harmless and when are they a sign it’s time to slow down?

Headaches and nausea

A thumping head or a queasy feeling during a workout is often a sign your body needs fuel. ‘Low blood sugar and thirst are the main causes,’ says personal trainer Dean Modeste (enhance.co.uk). ‘Eat a snack that contains protein and complex carbs, like a banana with peanut butter, an hour before you hit the gym, and sip water throughout your workout.’ Still suffering? ‘You could be over-exerting yourself, so rest and give your workout another go tomorrow.’

When to worry Your symptoms should subside within 15 minutes of stopping, but if yours don’t, or you vomit, or are suffering regularly, see your GP as migraines could be to blame.

Joint pain

Description: Feel good factor: Osteopathy, acupuncture and massage with Garry Trainer

Feel good factor: Osteopathy, acupuncture and massage with Garry Trainer

‘If you’re feeling pain in your joints, you’ve moved too quickly into a new exercise or you’re using weights that are too heavy,’ says London osteopath Garry Trainer (garrytrainer.com). ‘Protect against serious injury by using lighter weights and high repetition and balancing on a wobble board for five minutes a few times a week to strengthen your ankle, knee and hip joints.’

When to worry If you’re still in pain by the time you get home, ice it and take an anti-inflammatory. If there’s no improvement or it worsens by day three, see your GP.


Description: The Gym (website: thegymgroup.com)

The Gym (website: thegymgroup.com)

‘This is usually caused by overdoing your workout or exercising on an empty stomach,’ says Nick Ambrose, fitness expert at The Gym (thegymgroup.com). it’s caused by the blood rushing to your muscles and away from your head, so ease into new workouts and know your limits. If you feel dizzy, bend over to get the blood back to your brain quickly.

When to worry If the dizziness doesn’t go away within an hour of stopping, your punishing workout might not be to blame, so see your GP.

Stomach pain

Stitch ruining your run? ‘It’s likely you’re hitting the gym too soon after you’ve eaten or you’ve drunk a lot of fluid too quickly,’ says Nick. If it’s more of a cramp, period pain could be to blame – it can intensify during a workout. ‘If you’re prone to menstrual cramps, stick to light exercise during your period,’ says Nick. The other cause? You may simply need a loo break.

When to worry Stitch is very unlikely to be a sign of anything serious, but if the pain gets sharper over time and becomes acute, there’s a slim chance it could be appendicitis, which requires immediate medical attention.

Muscle cramps

If cramps strike during exercise, stop. Stretch, then massage the area, drink some water and walk around before resuming your workout. Still sore days later? It’s likely to be delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). ‘It’s caused by the tearing of small muscle fibers. The good news is they then heal to become much stronger,’ says Nick. ‘It doesn’t mean you’re training too hard, just that you’re getting fitter,’ he adds. Stretching, warming up and cooling down properly can help prevent it.

When to worry DOMS shouldn’t last longer than a week, and if your sore muscle is bruised or swollen, you may have an injury, so see your GP.

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