ZocdocAnswersShould skin feel cold when exercising?

Question

Should skin feel cold when exercising?

When I run, even in hot weather, my skin feels weirdly cold and clammy. Is this normal? It just seems like something must be wrong with my circulation if I feel hot but my skin stays cold. And weirdly, it seems to warm back up again a little when I stop exercising and cool down. Why?

Answer

The normal ways in which the body functions can sometimes seem strange to us. In this case, the reaction your skin has to exercise is not unheard of, and it does not necessarily mean you have bad circulation. Let me explain what I believe is happening. When we exercise, the body needs to divert blood to the areas which are using the most energy and oxygen. For example if you are out jogging, your body will quickly realize that your legs are where the blood needs to go. To do this, your muscle's blood vessels will open up bringing blood to those tissues. However, if those large leg muscles are getting lots of blood, there must be other areas of the body that have lost some blood. In your case, probably the blood vessels near your skin have contracted to reduce their blood volume and divert it to the large muscles. Also, your skin may feel cold because when sweat evaporates, it leaves the skin cool. You may just be feeling this sensation. While your issue does not seem like a concerning symptom, its never a bad idea to get checked out when you're nervous about something. Your primary care physician can assess your circulation with simple physical exam maneuvers in the office. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.