Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do my hands swell up when I walk?"
I'm a bit overweight and have recently started walking regularly to try and lose some weight. When I walk, usually around a half hour at a time, my hands swell up and get achy. Is this normal? Will this keep happening when I walk to exercise?
First of all, congratulations on starting to exercise and lose weight! Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular cardiovascular exercise are really important parts of a healthy lifestyle. Not only will you feel better, but this will help prevent diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other conditions down the road. When you first start exercising, it is common to have a sensation of swelling or tightness in the hands. What happens is that the swinging action of the arms, together with having the arms lower than the heart, tends to allow fluid to collect. This is entirely benign and not a sign of a serious medical condition. Usually, once you finish exercising and return to your regular activities, you will notice that the stiffness will go away in twenty or thirty minutes. As you continue to exercise, you tend to get accustomed to this, and you will have less swelling. However, you may always continue to have some degree of swelling; for example, even serious athletes many have some swelling of the fingers after a long run. As always, feel free to talk to your primary care doctor if you have other questions about healthy living, exercise, and the like!
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