The rumors are true. Terrible and bizarre things can happen to you when you work out and exercise, some good and some bad. Don’t worry though, although all of the below side effects are possible – you can easily avoid them (the bad ones anyway) by wearing the right sports clothing and taking appropriate safety precautions. We’ll start of with the negatives, because they’re way easier to believe than the great one at the end!

Nipple Bleeding

Also known as Jogger’s Nipple, this occurs when the fabric of your shirt rubs against your nipple, causing friction, dryness cracking and yes, even bleeding. Women are largely protected by sports bras, which move with the skin and not against it, but men wearing loose t-shirts need to watch out! The best solution is buying a running shirt that is designed to reduce friction with the skin during exercise, but other options are Band-Aids across the nipple, apply an anti-chafing balm or nipple shield. If you do experience nipple bleeding, apply anti-septic cream immediately, as this is one place you really don’t want an infection! Jason wrote an interesting post about bloody nipples over at his blog, Running 365.

Black Toes

This, like many of the symptoms listen here, are more common with running than other types of fitness activity, but it has been known to happen to other athletes as well. Otherwise known as subungual hematomas, black toes occur when capillaries under the toenail burst. The problem is often exacerbated by shoes that are too tight. Your toes need room to breathe and move around a little inside the shoe. These black toes are more unpleasant and embarrassing than dangerous so if you get one –don’t worry – you’re not about to lose a toe, but you really should think about getting larger shoes.


Sometimes, for some people exercise, even moderate exercise, can cause a splitting headache. Generally this is due to straining your neck muscles and sometimes by a lack of fluid around the brain. If this is something you experience, have a chat with your physician, they’ll be able to tell you if it’s really dangerous or merely unpleasant.

Surprise Orgasms

There had to be at least one good one right? Well, mostly good. I can only imagine that experiencing one of these in the gym is rather embarrassing. Exercise-induced orgasms are currently a hot topic on the internet, but as of yet there is no medical consensus as to whether or not they are really happening. A combination of brain-released hormones and muscle exertion is the most likely cause, and women are much, much more likely to experience them than men. They are reported to occur most commonly during Yoga or other “core” exercises. I’ll leave you to imagine the rest.

Have any of these side effects ever happened to you? Tell us about it in the comments!

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