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Stopping the Itchies and Start Exercising

Trying to tackle your 2013 fitness goals but you can't exercise without your legs itching? Tips on stopping those itchies before they start.

There are several excuses out there not to exercise. None are as powerful as if you get the itchies.

If you’ve never got the itchies than consider yourself fortunate. If you do, than you know exactly what I mean. Have you ever wondered why the itchies are never talked about or why you can’t seem to get a straight answer about why you find yourself uncontrollably scratching yourself raw during the first 10 minutes of a work out. I’ve been told by friends that I was just allergic to exercising. Well ha-ha, the joke’s on them! It IS an allergic reaction…sort of.

My first attack was walking the beach in Florida. I had walked less than a mile in the sand and like tiny little bugs under my skin running around it started. First my ankles and then the itching crept up to my calves, then behind my knees and then full-blown thighs. I felt like I wanted to rip my own skin off or worse yet, I wanted to rip the person’s head off who I was walking with. At the time this beach had clusters of jellyfish washed upon shore, so everywhere I walked they were there. I couldn’t stand looking at them! It seemed like they were somehow connected to this miserable pain that I couldn’t run, walk, or scratch off. I was out of control and crazed and I couldn’t get back to the hotel fast enough.

Years past and talking with my sister, she had also experienced them while walking long distances or running. This was the first time I had ever heard someone else complain of this! I thought it had to do with or genes or something. I even asked my doctor and he had no explanation.

Now, through my 40 some years I’ve met only a handful of other itchies sufferers and that’s all I needed to know that itchies ARE real and I’m NOT crazy!

Here’s the lowdown on those rat bastards. The itchies are an inflammatory response from our body’s immune system. When you do exercises such as running, walking or movement that sends vibrations throughout your body, there’s a release of histamine in your legs and this is what causes the burning and swelling. Your blood vessels dilate, which results in increased circulation. Basically massive amount of blood is trying to push through our small blood vessels and from that point hives and redness increase along with the uncontrollable itching and in my case, the intense need to inflict bodily harm upon myself or others.

Before you give up on all that is body moving and healthy, there is a light at that end of this miserable tunnel. With continuous exercise, the itchies will go away. Yes it’s true! If you suck it up and push through your workouts, they will gradually begin to disappear. Now the question is HOW do you suck it up through that week? ANTIHISTAMINES! Try taking an antihistamine 45 minutes or so before your workout. It works! The drawback is I’m down for the count for the rest of the day. So now, I exercise during the evenings. Pop my pill, rock my workout then say peace to the family until morning.

Are you an itchies sufferer or know someone who is? I would love to hear your story and any helpful ways that you deal with them.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

DM February 04, 2013 at 05:45 PM
I used to get the itchies all the time when I'd first start exercising after taking time off. It would usually only happen on that first or second time I ran and then I'd be fine. Thanks for the explanation. It totally makes sense.
Laura February 07, 2013 at 03:29 AM
It's comforting to know that I am not the only person in this city with this problem. I get them all the time, not only on my legs, but also on my back and stomach. I take "Children's Allegra Allergy" chewable tablet before I exercise, or do anything that will involve sweating, Taking the chewable works immediately so I don't have to wait for it to kick in. I have taken different allergy medicines, and have found that the Children's Allegra seems to work the best, and with no drowsiness. The only drawback is that it is costly, but worth it! : )

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