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Why Do I Get Dizzy on the Treadmill?

by
author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Why Do I Get Dizzy on the Treadmill?
Treadmills moving belt can trigger dizziness. Photo Credit Magomed Magomedagaev/Hemera/Getty Images

The treadmill provides an efficient and convenient way to fit in a walk or run, but if you suffer from spells of dizziness while using it, the machine doesn't do you much good. While on a treadmill, you're in motion, but your surroundings are not. You might find dizziness is worse if you try to read or watch television (especially closed captions.)

To ease this dizziness, fix your gaze on something stationary. However, if a methodical stare doesn't do the trick, look to another possible reason for your dizziness.

Potential Cause: Sudden Stops of Movement

Going all out on the treadmill and stopping suddenly makes your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. This can make you light-headed and dizzy.

To prevent such an effect, gradually warm down from a fast run. Take about 5 minutes after the fastest part of your workout to jog slowly. Then, lower your speed to a gentle walk of 3 to 3.5 mph and stay there for several minutes. This slow finish means your bodily systems have time to adjust and can prevent you from feeling dizzy.

Read More: Correct Way to Use a Treadmill

Vertigo

Vertigo is usually caused by an inner ear disorder. You feel like you're spinning out of control, or that the world is spinning around you. When you move your head, the sensation of dizziness often gets worse.

Mild cases of vertigo may be tolerable during regular daily activities, but getting on the treadmill can aggravate the condition. If you feel slightly dizzy at other times of the day, especially upon awakening, or have headaches, ear ringing and nausea accompany the dizziness, consult a doctor.

Vertigo can go away on its own as your brain adjusts, but in some cases, you might need medication, dietary changes or other therapies to overcome the condition.

Hydrate well before running to ward off dizziness.
Hydrate well before running to ward off dizziness. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Dehydration

When you're on a treadmill, you're in a climate-controlled environment, so you might think you don't have to drink as much water. As with any run, though, running on a treadmill requires proper hydration. You're still exerting yourself, and your body temperature and breath rate will increase in response. The blood vessels in your brain dilate, and without enough hydration, this causes you to feel extra dizzy.

Aim to drink about 12 to 16 ounces an hour before your run begins and sip water periodically during your workout. If you start out in a dehydrated state and don't touch your water bottle during the run, you may feel dizzy.

There's no excuse to be dehydrated on the treadmill. It's easier to have a water bottle nearby when you're running in one spot or, if you forgot your bottle, get off and grab a drink from the water fountain every mile or two.

Low Blood Sugar

Dizziness while running on the treadmill could be a result of blood sugar that's too low. This is likely the cause if you run first thing in the morning, before breakfast, or hit the gym four or five hours after lunch.

You can easily remedy low blood sugar levels by making sure you have a snack about 30 minutes before your run. It doesn't have to be anything large, just a slice of whole-grain bread with a smear of nut butter or a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt with berries will do.

Read More: 20 Minute Treadmill Workouts

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