Why a Red Face After Exercise?

While exercise has many, many things going for it and is incredibly good for us, it also tends to leave us in something of a mess – covered in sweat, panting for breath and rather red in the face. This is all rather unpleasant and certainly not the most attractive look in the world and that is part of the reason that many of us end up not working out as much as we perhaps should – because we don’t want to meet our friends, turn up at work, or just spend the day looking and feeling disgusting.

At the same time this can sometimes be something of a concern if it leaves us looking like we’re very unhealthy or unfit, and as such we may end up wondering precisely why we end up like that. So what is it that gives you a red face when you work out?


The main contributing factor here is that your circulation increases as your heart rate gets quicker in a bid to supply your muscles and organs with lots of blood. Your blood is what contains the sugar that your muscles use for energy, and what contains the essential nutrients and proteins that help you to recover and repair. Most importantly of all though, your blood contains oxygen and when we reach an aerobic state our body needs to get more of that oxygen around the body. This then results in a higher heart rate and increased blood pressure, which in turn leads to the blood being pushed up against the surface of the blood vessels and thereby being more visible through the skin and causing that red face.

It is entirely normal to go red in the face when your heart rate increases and this is actually the same reason that we go red when we’re stressed, angry or embarrassed – due to the increased production of adrenaline and more rapid heart rate. However this problem can be more pronounced for some people than it can for others – for instance if you already have high blood pressure due to a heart condition, obesity or high cholesterol, then this will of course increase your chances of going red in the face – and in such cases it can potentially be dangerous so it’s very important to make sure that you don’t train too hard right away if you are very out of shape – ease yourself into your new programme gently.

Wind Burn

If by exercise you mean running to work or cycling then the environment might be playing a role as well as wind lashing against your face or even the sun of course can leave you looking a little more peachy than usual.


If your workout consists of doing sit ups while hanging upside down from a pull up bar then there’s a good chance that gravity might have a role in leaving you looking red. What can happen here is that the heart struggles to pump hard enough to push the blood up and out of your face as quickly as it manages to pump it down there and this then causes it to collect and for your face to get rather red and hot.


When we are hot our body tries to cool down our core temperature and the temperature of our internal organs. One way it accomplishes this is by redirecting some of your blood out towards the surface of the body and this then leads to you looking red as well as sweating a gallon. Of course we get warm when we exercise and this then makes us look redder still. In many cases a combination of these factors will interact and we will end up looking blotchy and red all over when we finish our workout.

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

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