3 Embarrassing Gym Moments and How to Avoid Them

PHOTO: Exercise can have some awkward side effects.
Getty Images

Exercise can have some embarrassing side effects -- we're talking weird noises and smells.

Here's how to curb those awkward occurrences. You're welcome.

Embarrassing Exercise Side Effects

Urinary Incontinence

You don't have to go--until you start running, jumping, or doing burpees at boot camp. Perfect.

According to a survey by Lauren Streicher, M.D., about 25 percent of incontinent women accidentally urinate on themselves during exercise.

Mid-workout leakage may indicate weak pelvic floor muscles (the ones that help you "hold it"). If this type of incontinence affects you, see your doc, who can rule out other issues like an infection.

There are exercises you can do to help you hold it in, depending on the severity of the problem. Getting the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles to work together could help make a difference, says Helene Byrne, author of Exercise After Pregnancy.

To focus on your pelvic floor, Byrne suggests sitting on the corner of a hard chair with your legs about hip-width apart. Roll your pelvis forward so you have more weight toward your pubic bone. Squeeze the anal sphincter first, then the vaginal sphincter, while also tightening your core muscles. Hold tightly for 10 seconds, then release. Complete eight sets of 10 reps each day.

10 Exercise Machines to Avoid

Embarrassing Exercise Side Effects

Hard Nipples

Doesn't matter if it's 20°F or the dead of summer--somehow your nips manage to poke through your sports bra and tank.

"The areola consists of small muscle fibers that contract when they're stimulated," says Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., a physician in family medicine and integrative and holistic medicine.

This doesn't happen only when you're getting it on in bed: During exercise, the combination of constant movement, sweat, and changes in skin temperature can cause them to contract, says Agarwal.

Biologically speaking, your nipples won't quit doing what they do. So dim the high beams by wearing a well-fitted top (to reduce fabric rubbing over the top of the nipples) and padded sports bra--or disguise them with graphic prints in dark colors.

Embarrassing Exercise Side Effects


You know what's worse than farting in a crowded weight room? Nothing.

Exercise can promote peristalsis--that's doc-speak for gut motility. This means it's a great way to improve regularity, says Agarwal. Only downside: When an exercise or activity increases abdominal pressure (think squats, lunges, crunches), it may also prompt the release of gases trapped in your digestive tract.

One way that may help you avoid it is watching what you eat 30 to 60 minutes pre-workout.

"If you consume certain foods or drinks such as broccoli and carbonated soda too close to exercising, it may create more gas in the stomach," says Agarwal.

5 Signs Your Workout is Too Intense

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...