If you’ve ever felt lightheaded or dizzy after a workout, you’re not alone. It’s troubling to finish a workout with these sensations, but not to worry! Feeling occasionally lightheaded post-workout is usually not caused by anything serious. However, it is important to target what the cause may be in order to help prevent it from happening again.
Below are five common causes for dizziness and/or lightheadedness post-workout that explain the symptoms. Plus, learn how to treat and prevent these issues.
Dizzy After Workout? This May Be Why
Symptoms of dehydration
- Excessive thirst
- Lightheadedness or feeling faint
- Weakness and/or exhaustion
- Less urination
- Dry mouth
We can easily become dehydrated by losing more water than we take in. Even a case of mild dehydration can cause the above symptoms. Thirst could also be an early sign of dehydration.
Symptoms of overexertion
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or feeling faint
Pushing yourself really hard during a workout can also cause overexertion, especially if you’re not accustomed to working that hard.
Symptoms of low blood sugar
- Brain fog
Low blood sugar (when levels of glucose in the blood are extremely low) is very common during a tough workout. Our main source of energy, especially during exercise, is sugar. When we workout, our muscles use much more glucose than normal. This can easily cause low blood sugar for many people. Morning workouts are the prime suspect for low blood sugar if you haven’t eaten before heading out the door.
Symptoms of drop in blood pressure
- Loss of concentration
- Blurred vision
Blood pressure can drop when performing rigorous exercises, and it’s usually at its lowest within an hour of working out. Pregnancy, heart problems, dehydration and certain medications may cause a drop in blood pressure. If you notice this happens often during your workouts, let your physician know.
Symptoms of incorrect breathing
Not breathing properly during a workout means you aren’t taking in the oxygen your muscles require to get you through your workout. Muscles need more oxygen while exercising, which is why you’ll notice breathing is faster and heart rate is increased. If you’re holding your breath or not breathing in deeply during exercise, you may feel dizzy.
Treatment & Prevention for Post-Workout Dizziness
Replacing electrolytes and fluids that have been lost during your workout is key to treating dehydration. If plain water isn’t doing the trick, try a drink that is enhanced with electrolytes.
The key to preventing dehydration is to hydrate throughout the day. This includes drinking prior to your workout, during your workout and post-workout. If you tend to get dehydrated during workouts it’s a good idea use an electrolyte supplement that can be added to your water.
Boost levels of low blood sugar by making sure to eat prior to physical activity. Eating healthy carbohydrates like fruit or oatmeal help to prevent low blood sugar.
It is also a good idea to keep healthy snacks on hand if you feel your blood sugar has crashed. If this doesn’t do the trick, try drinking a fruit drink like orange juice or apple juice, which can act fast to increase your blood sugar.
Take a break and breathe
If you’re hydrated and have eaten but are still feeling dizzy or light headed, it may be from not breathing properly, low blood pressure or overexerting yourself. If this is the case try the following:
- Take a break and rest for a few minutes.
- Practice deep breathing for several minutes, making sure to inhale and exhale slowly.
- Find a quiet place to sit with your head between the knees, this will increase the blood flow to the brain.
- During your workout make sure to constantly (and consciously) practice breathing in and out in at a regular pace.
- If you become dizzy while using an elliptical or treadmill, slow the pace and hold onto the railing until it is safe for you to stop the machine.