When it comes to exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, pushing yourself to the point of fatigue is the way you build muscle and become stronger. No wonder you may feel exhausted at the end of a weightlifting session, sprint or HIIT class.
But what happens when you catch yourself yawning during workouts? This is something that happens to me from time to time – once in front of a coach who asked me if I was bored and had to do more burp….
In case you are not familiar with them:
I’m not alone: Yawning during exercise is a common occurrence – and it is very likely to happen during our hardest workouts. Since high-intensity exercise offers about the same energy boost as a cup of coffee, it is unlikely that we will yawn because we are tired – or indifferent to what we are doing. In all likelihood, this reflex is activated by something completely different, according to science.
The normal reason that can be yawned during training
“It’s a common misconception that yawning has to do with getting more oxygen,” explains exercise physiologist Sharon Gam, PhD, CSCS of Florida. That myth is largely based on a 1987 study that has since been debunked by further research, he says. On the contrary, while science does not know at present exactly what causes yawning in general (it is an involuntary reflex, after all), when it occurs during a workout, yawning is probably the way your body tries to calm down.
“Yawning has been linked to a normal response to higher brain temperatures,” says Chelsea Long, CSCS, TPI, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. “The moments before and after yawning are believed to promote a better temperate climate in the brain.”
Because HIIT and strength training often involve many major muscle groups, your body tends to warm up quickly, says Dr. Gam. “You can yawn in response to this rapid rise in temperature to stop overheating.”
Everyone has a different response to increases in body temperature and dissipates heat differently, says Long. “Some people are heavy sweaters or turn bright red or purple instead of sweating,” he adds. This could explain why not everyone yawns during training. If you do, however, both Long and Dr. Gam say it’s not necessarily something to worry about.
When yawning during training is a cause for concern
“Yawning does not seem to be related to insecurity or high health concerns,” says Long, “but taking into account how you feel and your breathing mechanisms could help stimulate a better cooling mechanism.” of the brain. ”
If the yawning seems repetitive and bothers you, he says, using an ice pack on the forehead, wiping the sweat with a towel, drinking cooler water and being well hydrated for a workout can help. Dr. Gam adds that if you feel excessive yawning, you should check with a doctor to make sure nothing else you need to know about is happening.
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