When you exercise, your body goes through a number of physical adaptations to compensate for the high level of stress being placed on it. Your lungs work harder in order to supply your muscles with oxygen; your heart beats faster to get that oxygen where it needs to go; and your skin sweats to keep your body cool as it heats up. Becoming red in the face after exercising is normal, but there are other non-exercise-related causes of facial flushing.
When you exercise, your body begins to burn calories in order to supply your muscles with energy, which lets off heat. More than 70 percent of the of the energy your body generates in order to power your muscles is lost as heat energy. In order to compensate for this, your body begins to cycle the heated blood away from your muscles and out toward your skin, causing the sweat on your body to evaporate and cool off your overheated body.
When your body diverts the heat being generated in your muscles to your skin, the blood vessels near your skin dilate. A common byproduct of this dilation is that your skin becomes red, especially in the facial area. When you exercise, the blood being cycled becomes heated and rich with oxygen and other important nutrients needed to keep you and your skin healthy. While this process is important for your body, it does leave your face looking rather flushed after you're done with your workout.
While a red face after exercise is common, there are other factors that could be causing your face to flush during or even after exercise. Rosacea is a fairly common skin condition in which your skin -- mostly in your face -- becomes red, usually in cycles. Other factors that can cause an increase of blood flow to your face include sunlight, spicy foods, alcohol, extreme temperatures, and some blood-pressure medications. In rare cases, facial flushing can be a symptom of more serious conditions such as lupus or certain types of cancers. If you notice that your face is red and you haven't done anything to cause it to appear that way, consult a doctor.
Whether your flushed face is caused by your body's natural heating and cooling system during exercise or from some other outside force, take preventative measures to help minimize the redness in your face. When you're working out, take short breaks to allow your body to cool off and lower your heart rate in between sets or miles. Also, if you're exercising outside in the sun, wear sunscreen on your face and put a hat on your head to help block out some of the sun's rays.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.