Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jog Itch

Not jock itch. JOG itch.


Does it ever happen to you? You haven't run in a while, then when you DO run you start to feel itchy after a few minutes. It tends to begin around the lower legs then moves up to the thighs, waist and torso. It is most aggravating where your body jiggles from pounding the pavement, and it is sometimes worse in cold weather when you're wearing sweats. Here's the best explanation I've found for the physical cause:

"Don't worry; you aren't alone on this problem. It usually occurs during exercise performed after a long period of inactivity. The itching is not on the skin, it is inside the skin.

You see, there are millions of tiny capillaries and arteries inside our muscles which expand rapidly due to the demand for more blood that is brought on by exercise. When our bodies are sufficiently fit, these capillaries remain open allowing maximum blood passage, but, when unfit and inactive, they tend to collapse, allowing only minimal blood passage (which is sufficient for a sedentary person, however). The rapid expansion of these vessels causes adjacent nerves to send impulses back to the brain which are interpreted as an itch.

The problem should go away once you have increased your fitness level.

I expected to get it bad when I ran this morning since I hadn't jogged in about two weeks, but surprisingly, I didn't. I think the hard exercise of four consecutive after-work formula windsurfing sessions must have re-opened my capillaries. Cool.


Johnny Douglass said...

At age 30 and only two weeks off running with plenty of windsurfing in between you probably aren't sufficiently out of shape. In fact I ran about two weeks ago at age 65 after about 3 months off and I didn't get this itching symptom. Of course I was puffing like a locomotive after 5 minutes. I got leg cramps like an alligator bite the night following and my knee is still so sore I'm limping. No itching though.
P.S. Much better EDITED video from the GoPro.

doxielover1978 said...

I jogged today for the first time since giving birth to twins. I was a running before the pregnancy, but didn't run during because I "took it very easy" to be on the safe side. I was put on bedrest toward the end of my pregnancy...needless to say, I gained 95 lbs. When I jogged today, I itched so bad I had to walk and scratch all over...legs, stomach, butt, arms. I just figured it was from jiggling or lactic acid or something. I knew it had to be because I am so out of shape and haven't exercised for so long. Oh by the way...70 pounds came off the first two weeks after they were born! Now, I'm working on the last 19 lbs. I figure the itching won't be as bad the next time.

James Douglass said...

Doxielover- Wow, that's a neat story. I'm sure that after all you've made it through, the jog itch will just be a minor obstacle to get over. Good luck! :)