Cold Hands after Running
I am a 39-year-old woman who is coming back to running after 15 years. I am in week 1 of a run/walk program with the goal of running a 5k in three months' time. After my "runs", I always take a warm / hot shower. After this I have noticed my hands are cold for much of the day.
Is this normal?
Should I be doing something different?
My body feels good, but my hands are cold.
Answer by Dominique:
Thanks for your question about having cold hands after running. I get this quite a lot as well, especially in the winter months, and especially after longer workouts. I get it mostly in the fingers on which I have some light arthritis symptoms, I think for me it is related to blood flow in those fingers.
I will provide you with:
1. Reasons why you may have cold hands after running
2. What you can try to do to prevent cold hands after running
Reasons Why You May Have Cold Hands After Running
Reduced Blood Flow: During exercise, blood flow increases to the working muscles to deliver oxygen and nutrients. However, this increased blood flow may not reach the extremities like the hands and fingers as much as other parts of the body. As a result, blood flow to the hands and fingers can be reduced, making them feel cold.
Sweat Evaporation: When you sweat during exercise, the sweat on your skin evaporates, which helps to cool your body down. However, this can also cause your hands and fingers to feel cold, especially if the air temperature is cool.
Hyperventilation: During intense exercise, you may breathe more quickly and deeply than usual, which can cause you to hyperventilate. This can lead to a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which can cause blood vessels to constrict and reduce blood flow to the hands and fingers, making them feel cold.
Poor Circulation: If you have poor circulation in your hands and fingers, they may be more prone to feeling cold after exercise. Poor circulation can be caused by a number of factors, including underlying medical conditions or simply genetics.
Cold Weather: Clearly, if you are exercising in cold weather, the cold air can cause your hands and fingers to feel cold, even if blood flow is normal. In this case, wearing gloves or mittens can help to keep your hands warm.
What you can try to do to prevent cold hands after running
Dress appropriately: Make sure to wear warm clothing, especially gloves or mittens, that can trap heat and prevent your hands from getting cold.
Stay active: Keep your body moving and your blood flowing by doing some light exercises or stretches before and after your outdoor activity.
Stay hydrated: Drinking water can help regulate your body temperature and prevent your hands from getting too cold.
Try hand warmers: You can use disposable hand warmers or reusable ones that you can microwave or boil to keep your hands warm.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These can cause your blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to your hands and making them feel colder.
Massage your hands: Massaging your hands can increase blood flow and warm them up.
I usually find that a hot shower after exercise helps a lot, especially running the hot water over my hands for a couple of minutes. Even then, sometimes my hands are still cold. What I do then is to exercise my hands (moving my fingers vigorously for a couple of minutes or rub my hands quite strongly) and / or wearing some gloves for a while.
For me, it's definitely an issue of poor circulation caused by light arthritis and getting my fingers to move and warming them up does the trick.
If you experience persistent cold hands or have other symptoms such as numbness or tingling, as always, it's best to consult a healthcare professional.
Hope this helps.
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