7 Unexpected Things That Exercise Can Cause Your Body To Do (Including So. Many. Farts.)
The other day, I let one rip in the middle of a plank interval during a Zoom workout session. Sure, the toot resulted in some giggles (and reddened cheeks, in my case), but that’s not exactly something you hope for when you’re taking an exercise class with others—virtual or IRL. And, sorry to say, farting is just one of several weird effects of exercise to worry about.
When your body is being pushed and contracted and is moving through all sorts of shapes and poses, a number of involuntary bodily functions can happen. These side effects aren’t exactly dangerous, but they’re not the most appealing either. From the eyebrow-raising to the downright embarrassing, these are the top weirdest things that your body can do when you’re mid-workout. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. You may let one rip
Farting in a yoga class can happen pretty regularly (raise your hand if you’ve ever let one loose during happy baby pose), but flatulence is actually very common in all different types of workouts. According to Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, this is because exercise allows any built-up gases in your digestive system to release.
“This is especially true for exercises involving core work, as you’re literally squeezing the muscles of the digestive system and pushing air out of your colon,” he says. “Plus, heavy breathing during exercise causes more air in the body that needs to be released.”
2. You may get turned on
Even if you are struggling through some reps, fitness can be an aphrodisiac. Yes, exercise releases endorphins, aka that euphoric runner’s high feeling… but it’s releasing other chemicals that can make you even more, well, excited. “Workouts, especially lower-body ones, cause the body to secrete hormones like testosterone,” says personal trainer Nick Liguori. “This increases the blood flow to your reproductive organs, which ignites your libido.”
When you get a rush of testosterone and other feel-good hormones—like adrenaline and dopamine, both of which exercise can ignite—you can wind up feeling quite randy and confident.
3. You may pee a little
Sometimes, your leggings can get wet from something other than sweat. It’s relatively common to pee during exercise, though it happens more to women than men, according to Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS, a physical therapist. This is typically due to weak pelvic floor muscles that aren’t trained enough.
Though surprise pee during exercise is common, it’s not exactly normal and Herrera says that it’s important to address. What can ya do? She recommends incorporating daily exercises that target your pelvic floor, like squeezing and releasing your kegel muscles. You can also practice when you purposefully go to the bathroom by stopping mid-stream to improve your strength.
4. Your eyes may feel dry—or you could cry
When you’re done with a workout, your muscles may feel tired, your skin sticky with sweat, and your eyes particularly strained. The latter could be caused by a decrease in eye moisture, which gives you annoying dry eyes. Dr. Axe notes that this is because many people blink more often when they’re working out. “Researchers have found that our blinking rates drop during tasks that require visual coordination, like sports activities and exercise,” he says. “This means that the moisture that’s usually brought to the surface of the eyes when we blink is reduced during physical activity.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people can actually cry during a workout. It’s not because of how hard burpees are—your body’s rise in adrenaline and endorphins can promote an emotional response, says Dr. Axe. “This kind of experience is most common during reflective exercises like yoga,” he says. Expect more of this during hip-opening poses, where yoga pros say that a lot of emotions are held.
5. You may yawn
A yawn is often associated with being tired or bored… which most people aren’t if they’re in the middle of a workout sesh. Surprisingly enough, Mindbody fitness instructor Meredith Simmons says that exercise can also cause this reflex (which is why your fitness trainer won’t take it personally if you randomly yawn in their class). Though researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly why this happens, one hypothesis is that it could be your body’s attempt to cool down your brain.
6. You may queef
It may sound like you just passed gas, but it came from another region. Herrera says that this phenomenon—often referred to as a queef—happens when a trapped air pocket in the vagina escapes and creates an audible sound. It can occur during penetration or, in some instances, mid-workout. The good news? It’s normal and doesn’t point to a health issue, says Herrera. To try and prevent it from happening, she suggests doing kegels to strengthen and relax your pelvic floor muscles.
7. You could have an orgasm
On a rare occasion, some people can experience what some have dubbed a ‘core-gasm.’ It won’t happen for everyone, but orgasming during a workout can happen. Simmons says that an exercise-induced orgasm happens much like a regular one does: from built-up tension, contracting and releasing muscles, and working, uh, certain body areas. According to one study done by Indiana University, this sort of experience is more likely when lifting weights, cycling, doing pole fitness, or with core work.
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