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20 Weird Side Effects of Working Out

From better sex to poorer dental health, and everything in between.

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Guy Working Out

Exercise can do some weird things to your body. We took a look at every angle—from mental health to digestion to immunity—to arrive at this list of the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Want to tack on three years to your life, prevent a bout of the "runs" or learn to avoid nipple chafing (who wouldn't)? Read on.

Bolsters Flu Shot Response

Doing 90 minutes of moderately paced cardio right after your flu shot could make the vaccine work better. Research found that participants who cycled or ran 15 minutes after being vaccinated had nearly double the antibody response compared to volunteers who were sedentary after the flu shot. Aerobic activity speeds up circulation, helping the vaccine travel away from the injection site, and toward other parts of the body. But make sure you hit 90 minutes to get the maximum benefit. Think that’s torture? Watch a movie on the treadmill, or imagine how awful it’ll be to have the flu. That should keep you moving.

Helps You Hold It

If your night’s sleep isn’t complete without a trip to the bathroom, you may benefit from this weird side effect. Men who are physically active are at a lower risk of "nocturia," a.k.a. waking up at night to pee. The 2014 study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, analyzed over 30,000 men with enlarged prostates—one of the main causes of nocturia. Those who were physically active one or more hours per week were 13% less likely to report nocturia and 34% less likely to report severe nocturia (waking up three or more times.)

Fights Wrinkles

Exercise can keep skin looking younger, and may even reverse the effects of aging in people who start working out later on in life. Men and women over the age of 40 were put on an endurance-training regimen; they worked out twice a week, either jogging or cycling at a moderately strenuous pace for 30 minutes over the span of three months. In the end, these individuals' skin compositions were comparable to that of 20- and 30-year-olds—even if they were past the age of 65. Findings came from McMaster University in Ontario, which were reported in The New York Times. Some words of wisdom: keep moving, it may just be the best way to fight wrinkles.

Irritates Your Nipples

So you’re new to marathons. Want to know what’s a dead giveaway? Your nipples are bleeding down your sweaty white T-shirt. This is common in novice endurance runners; experienced athletes have come across a wondrous invention called NipGuards. Tips for the novice runner: you can use cheaper alternatives like Band-Aids, and a generous helping of BodyGlide or Vaseline. Also, stick to tighter shirts that, well, stick close to your body so the dried salt from your sweat doesn’t chafe against your skin like sandpaper. It’s that or wearing a sports bra. The choice is yours.

Can Bring on Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis

You expect some huffing and puffing from a workout, but nothing quite prepares you for an impromptu episode of anaphylaxis. During physical exertion, the body’s mast cells (immune system tissue) release histamine, the compound responsible for the swelling and itching associated with allergic reactions, which triggers symptoms like hives, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and nausea. Some advice: EIA is usually associated with foods like celery, shellfish, and peanuts, so if you're sensitive, avoid eating these trigger foods before a workout, take an antihistamine, and ease into small amounts of regular exercise to build up your body’s tolerance.

SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Abs Exercises of All Time>>

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