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Tightness in the Chest After Exercise

author image Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.
Tightness in the Chest After Exercise
Chest tightness after exercise may be reason to visit the doctor.

Any good workout will leave you breathing hard. However, if you experience tightness or pain in your chest, there might be a problem. In fact, tightness in the chest after exercise could be a sign of a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment. If you have feelings of pressure or pain, contact your doctor right away.

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Asthma is sometimes the cause of tightness or pain in the chest following exercise. In some people, asthma is actually exercise-induced, so you may not experience symptoms at any other time than when working out. Taking rapid breaths during exercise causes inflammation in the lungs, leading to swelling, which makes it hard to breathe deeply. This creates a sensation of tightness in the chest. If you think you have asthma, see a doctor right away for treatment.

Muscle Strain

You may simply have pulled or strained a muscle. Exercise taxes your muscles, and the act of breathing deeply and rapidly when running, for instance, could stress the muscles that run across your chest. This can create a sensation of pressure or pain after you work out. However, if the tightness is accompanied by pain in your arms, tingling or dizziness, contact a medical professional right away.


Pleurisy involves a sharp chest pain that worsens when you try to inhale or cough. Breathing hard and being physically active can irritate the membrane that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs, which leads to sharp pains and pressure in the chest. Pleurisy can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem, so advise your physician should you experience it after exercise.

Heart Problem

Heart issues are what are most commonly associated with tightness in the chest after exercise or even while at rest. If you suffer from a tight feeling or pressure in the chest after a workout, it could be angina, a condition that causes the arteries in the heart to restrict and cause pain. Chest tightness could also be due to a heart attack, which occurs when the arteries constrict to the point of fully blocking blood flow to the heart. In either case, immediate medical attention is required.

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