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Running Headaches & a High Heart Rate

author image Kiki Michelle
Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Kiki Michelle has been writing health-related articles since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Environmental Science and Technology Magazine." Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in human biology from Stanford University.
Running Headaches & a High Heart Rate
Discomfort while running may be harmless, but it may also be related to an underyling illness. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The benefits of routine exercise like running are many; however, while running, you may experience occasional aches, pains and discomforts. Symptoms like headaches, rapid heart rate and shortness of breath can be harmless. These signs can also indicate a more serious underlying illness.


According to MayoClinic.com, headaches while running are usually not a cause for alarm and can be treated with over-the-counter medication. Sometimes, however, headaches can be the result of a serious medical condition like a tumor, and thus require immediate medical attention. Having a rapid heart rate while running is usually normal, but if your heart rate has slowed down after a relatively long period of rest and is accompanied by an uncomfortable shortness of breath, it may be a sign of a more serious condition.


Headaches are associated with a number of exercises like running, swimming, rowing, tennis and weightlifting. Harmless but uncomfortable headaches are usually described as throbbing and tend to affect both sides of the head. Serious headaches, on the other hand, may be accompanied by vomiting, double vision and loss of consciousness. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing headaches while exercising to determine whether an underlying illness exists.

Rapid Heart Rate

Your heart naturally beats faster while performing any exercise so that it can adequately carry enough oxygen to all the muscles and organs in your body. If your heart beats too fast and for longer periods than expected or comfortable, it may be a sign of something more serious like heart disease, high blood pressure, stress or a reaction to medication. If your heart rate during exercise does not feel normal or comfortable, consult your doctor immediately.

Shortness of Breath

People that exercise often experience shortness of breath after performing any strenuous exercise. If irregular breathing persists long after the completion of an exercise, it is best to lower the intensity of your workout as it may be a sign that it is too difficult. Shortness of breath is also often associated with illnesses such as asthma, heart disease and lung diseases like emphysema. If this problem is bothersome, your doctor can perform and X-ray and run tests to assess the cause and determine the best treatment for you.


There are number of ways you can help relieve and prevent some of these symptoms while exercising. Smoking can cause and aggravate all the above symptoms; therefore stopping will likely help reduce the occurrence of these symptoms. Over-the-counter medications can help relieve headaches and other minor aches and pains. Medications prescribed by your doctor can help treat heart arrhythmias. Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet will also help your body manage the stresses of routine exercise.

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