If you experience chest pain while running, don’t necessarily panic.
Anyone who has ever run a significant distance knows that sometimes it comes with a little chest pain as an added bonus. As if getting out of bed isn’t hard enough, feeling chest pain while exercises automatically triggers all kinds of worries and could have us Googling and WebMD’ing before we even return home. Chest pain isn’t always a symptom of something wrong however, especially when running. Here are some other potential causes, to put your mind at ease.
If you’re new to running, chest pain could just mean that your body hasn’t adjusted to the new intensity or rate of your exercise. In this instance, it’s probably better to take it easy and work your way into high intensity exercise, AKA a brisk walk, into a jog, into a run. Consider them growing pains and take solace in the fact that you probably won’t experience them next time.
READ MORE: Five Common Running Injuries To Avoid
Even though you may not know it, your chest muscles can actually cramp. Called the intercostal muscles, the muscles around your ribcage can cramp due to a high intensity workout or dehydration. If you experience this, try to hydrate or change up your breathing patterns to work out the cramp and keep it moving.
Heartburn can also cause chest pain while running, so if you are going running, it’s best not to eat a big meal, and to stay away from spicy, fried, or caffeinated food or drink. If you suspect you are suffering from heartburn, monitor what you eat before every run and switch it up.
If you are having really bad chest pain during a run that doesn’t abate, you may actually have a pre-existing lung or heart condition and need to get checked out. Asthma and pneumonia are two such conditions that can adversely affect your ability to run. Keeping an inhaler on hand and visiting your doctor are two ways to skirt around this.
If you have even a slight suspicion that you may have a serious heart issue, it is better to go see a doctor before you even attempt to run. If you experience accelerating or worsening symptoms such as pain in your arm, heavy sweating, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, or dizziness during high intensity exercise, but not when your heart is at rest, see a doctor immediately before attempting any kind of cardio.
As with anything else, your health is your number one priority, so always listen to your body, because it will tell you if you are running it into the ground.