Why do my hands swell when running or walking?
A top-notch doctor offers advice on this common hot-weather problem.
If you've ever noticed that your hands swell up midway, you're definitely not alone. While it is often only subtle, it is actually a fairly common fact.
Are you drinking enough water?
Hands tend to swell in hot weather, but it is not a sign of dehydration. Rather, it's the opposite: swollen hands and fingers can be a sign of hyponatremia, which occurs when you drink too much fluids during a run.
"During exercise, circulation increases and the hand has a large network of small blood vessels that open." “With increased blood flow, there is a leakage of fluid between cells. This leak is probably the cause of the swelling of the fingers. "
Additionally, swinging the arms while running can also contribute to fluid retention in the hands, as this movement increases air movement through the skin to enhance heat exchange with the air.
"This fluid is eventually reabsorbed into cells or eliminated by the lymphatic system." “This process continues while it is running, but the elimination rate is slower than the accumulation rate. Once you stop exercising, the fluid will be reabsorbed into the vascular system or surrounding cells or will be eliminated by the lymphatic flow. "
The solution? If you notice that the swelling in your hands gets worse when you run, moving your hard or long workouts to the cooler parts of the day, in the morning or at night, might help.
Taking off the rings you're wearing isn't a bad idea either; The last thing you want to deal with after training is struggling to get them off your swollen fingers.
And most importantly, set your hydration plan, especially for long runs that last more than an hour or that will take place in hot and humid conditions. A recent study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, suggests that drinking water when you feel like it (when you feel thirsty) will lead to adequate hydration at the end of a two-hour run despite the temperature. Listen carefully to your body to avoid over-hydration that can lead to hyponatremia symptoms.