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Why You Get Migraines After a Workout

Updated on April 4, 2012
Migraines are a nuisance to some, and debilitating to others.
Migraines are a nuisance to some, and debilitating to others.

The Aura

Do you find yourself with that foreboding aura after an intense workout at the gym or at home? Are you often plagued with migraines after a long, sweaty cardio session?

I sometimes get migraine headaches when I do intense exercise and for the longest time I didn't know why. After more consideration and examination of known information about migraines, I came to the conclusion that my electrolytes were low.

I would drink only purified water from my Brita pitcher for a super sweaty, 800-calorie burning workout, then wonder why, during the cooldown, I would begin to get that fuzzy vision. As soon as I started drinking a little mixture of fruit juice and water during my workouts, the sugar and electrolytes from the juice kept me better hydrated than water alone.

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are substances that become ions when in solution and acquire the ability to conduct electricity. We have them in our bodies and they are essential for our overall health and the normal function of our cells and organs. When the supplies get low, weird things can happen to the body, and migraines are one of them.

The three main electrolytes are:

  • sodium
  • potassium
  • chloride

Bananas are the perfect snack anytime-- before, during, or after a workout.
Bananas are the perfect snack anytime-- before, during, or after a workout.

How to Replenish Your Electrolytes

Intake of whole foods is the healthiest way to replenish electrolytes and avoid getting a migraine after a workout. The best way to avoid getting a post-workout migraine in the first place is to make sure you don't drink only water.

  • mix in a little fruit juice or smart water into your water (cuts down on calories) and drink it during your workout.
  • eat something salty before your workout, like a bagel with peanut butter or some canned soup
  • olives and tomatoes contain chloride
  • bananas are an excellent source of potassium


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      My migraines are definitely triggered with exercise and I've been progressively gaining weight which make the same workouts I used to be "ok" with more strenuous. My migraines are also triggered by smart/vitamin/additive waters. I will try the other method of eating some salty foods, olives, tomatoes, and a small amount of juice. Thank you!

    • Anishpat profile image

      Anish Patel 

      6 years ago from San Francisco + Mumbai

      Awesome hub! Thanks! I usually get a migraine if I am forced to skip a meal

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Electrolytes are necessary after an exhausting routine but I did not know that migraines are associated with the lack of them.

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