I had an interesting experience yesterday…
long post 🙂
My day (yesterday) started with a doctor’s appointment after which i did some shopping, got some work done, grabbed some lunch and then headed home in the early afternoon. I hadn’t worked out that morning but planned to do so later in the day.
The days’ workout was to be Cardio recovery – a light workout because i’d been tearing it up the past 3 days. However, seeing that i’d had a rather unhealthy meal for lunch (fried chicken, french fries/chips *hellocholesterol!*, and soda. I forgot to get some salad 😐 ), i decided to do Pure cardio instead. I just had this nagging feeling that i needed to do intense cardio. Both cardio recovery and pure cardio are part of the Insanity program.
Pure cardio is no joke. Its one of the reasons Insanity is considered to be a killer workout. Its only about 38 minutes long, with the main workout being 15 minutes long – nonstop (after warm up and stretching). In those 15 minutes you’re supposed to push yourself to the limit. I, of course took several short breaks but i pushed through and felt really proud of myself because that workout was better than my last 🙂
After the workout i was SWEATY! I grabbed my phone to take a selfie (who doesn’t do this after a workout? 😀 ), and then the itchies started. First in my neck area, then my upper arms and then my forearms. I tried to ignore them but then they got annoying and when i looked down at my arms and saw these…
I panicked! My initial thought was that i was having an allergic reaction to my own sweat! But this wasn’t my first time sweating! I then figured that maybe the days’ dirt on my body coupled with the sweat was the cause. Then i thought back to what i’d had to eat that day…i couldn’t possibly be allergic to chicken! I was no longer on medication…my mind went into overdrive and i started thinking there was no way i was rushing to hospital at that time of the night (it was past 8 pm), besides, i’d already seen one doctor that day!
I went into the bathroom and stood under running water for the longest time. I was afraid to use soap thinking it would aggravate the issue. The itchiness subsided. I took a shower (used soap) and then decided to rinse off with cold water. It was friggin’ cold but i felt good. My skin went back to normal in about half an hour.
Me being me, i went online in search of answers and this is what i found out.
Itching during or after exercise is pretty common. It could be caused by the release of histamine due to either friction from tight workout clothes or from the body heat generated during physical activity. It could also be caused by an allergic reaction to chemicals or the fabric of your exercise clothes.
Since i had never had problems with my workout clothes and hadn’t changed the products i use to wash them or on my body, i came to the conclusion that mine was a case of exercise-induced histamine due to excessive body heat aka Cholinergic urticaria (CU) or Hives <— self-diagonising.
Histamine is a substance found in the body. It is a vasodilator; meaning, it increases blood flow to injured or infected tissues to facilitate a faster immune response. It may also be released during exercise to help protect the body against exercise-induced fatigue or exhaustion. If i remember my science lessons well, vasodilation is one of the ways the body releases heat. Unfortunately, an increase in histamine production within the body causes itching and inflammation.
So, all this drama was because i was overheated?! I wasn’t even overdressed for my workout! When i first started Insanity last year, my body would really heat up but i never once had this reaction. Mind boggling right?
After further research, i found out that the time of day you exercise matters with regards to this body reaction. That, and the level of intensity of your workout.
I normally workout at 5am and if am late, mid morning between 10 and 11. I try to avoid working out in the afternoon because for some reason, i get super hungry afterwards. Working out at night leaves me super exhausted and i end up going to bed early (I do enjoy better sleep though. Actually, the best sleep).
Last night i’d just come from cooking a huge meal for my family (you know how kitchen duty is). I guess i was already overheated from that plus it was a rather warm night. And then i did pure cardio right after (which is very intense – my muscles must have thought they were being attacked and called for help aka histamine? ). Lets not forget that sweat exacerbates the itching…thats probably why it subsided in the shower even though i was using hot water to rinse at first. Am guessing these were the reasons for my allergic reaction? I dunno…
I hope it doesn’t happen again. If it does, i know what to do….hop into the shower immediately, or to be on the safe side, take an antihistamine 30 minutes before working out, or workout in a cooler environment or at a cooler time of day (early mornings for me). Also, the more one exercises, the less sensitive one is to histamine.
Anyone else had a similar reaction?