The relationship between physical activity, sports and headache is a topic of growing interest as testified by a variety of recently published papers. This correlation dates back to the Classical Age. The aim of this study is to understand how the concept of headache of vascular origin has evolved after the publication of the book De motu cordis by William Harvey (1578-1657). We analyzed and compared the books De arte gymnastica written by Girolamo Mercuriale (1601 edition) and De Morbis Artificum Diatriba written by Bernardino Ramazzini (1713 edition) focusing our attention on headache in the sportsman. By studying the De morbis artificum diatriba, it is clear that its description of the etiopathogenesis of exercise headache of cardiovascular origin is much more complete and precise than the one provided in De arte gymnastica. The limits of scientific knowledge of his time put Mercuriale at disadvantage, since cardiovascular physiology was not elucidated until 1628 with the publication of De motu cordis.