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Friday, May 27, 2011

It Is Ok to Become Lightheaded or Nauseas During a Workout?

Often times we push ourselves very hard, or too hard, during our workouts. This can lead to light headedness or nausea. The severity of these conditions depends more on when it happens than the fact that it happens.

During exercise, the heart is pumping harder, the blood vessels are dilating to allow the increased blood flow to get to its destination, and the increased blood volume is pumping to the working muscles. This is all perfectly normal and healthy and nothing to worry about as it is how the body is supposed to respond to the increased activity level.


Why then do some people become light headed or nauseas during or after exercise and should this be a warning sign for possible illness? The answer to that question is more complicated than just a yes or a no. The answer is, it depends. If you are feeling ill during your workout, it may be a sign of trouble. If you feel sick immediately following an abrupt cessation of exercise it may be normal. Due to the dilation of the blood vessels, if there is a slowing of blood volume from decreased activity, it may cause a drop in blood pressure which sometimes results in feeling dizzy. To avoid becoming dizzy, slow down gradually and be sure to include a cool down period at the end of each workout, especially an intense one.

Of more concern is becoming lightheaded or dizzy during a workout. Lightheadedness during exercise may be a sign of a heart problem and must be checked out by a physician. Another potential problem with dizziness as a warning sign is heat stroke. If you are exercising outdoors or in any hot environment, make sure you are wearing light, loose fitting clothes and are maintaining proper hydration levels. In addition, in cold temperatures wear layers of clothing so that you can remove layers as your body temperature increases.


During high intensity activities (at or above 85% of maximum effort) the body shunts or takes blood away from the gastrointestinal tract to be used for the increased muscular demand and this may cause nausea In addition, too much fluid intake can have the same effect as can too little resulting in dehydration.

Other possible explanations are not eating prior to the exercise which results in low blood sugar. This condition may occur when you workout early in the morning before you have eaten or digested your morning meal or working out later in the day after possibly skipping lunch or not eating enough. Motion sickness may also cause that “I want to throw up” feeling. You might be thinking, I don’t work out on a boat so this doesn’t apply to me but motion sickness can occur by starting your exercise regime with crunches. Crunches allow your eyes to look around and that coupled with the movement of your body can throw off your equilibrium. To help correct that, keep your eyes open and fixed on a point.

Of the two, nausea and lightheadedness, the latter is the more serious cause for alarm. If it occurs during the course of your workout it must be checked out by a physician to rule out blood pressure and heart problems. Becoming dizzy after a workout or nauseous during or after are not as serious but if they occur regularly and are interfering with your workouts or recovery then they should be checked out. As with all exercise programs, be safe, use your common sense, if something feels wrong, it may be, check it out. There is always time to get back on track once you are sure you are healthy and functioning properly.

Source: Christina Leon

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