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Why Do I Get Dizzy on the Treadmill?

by
author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Why Do I Get Dizzy on the Treadmill?
Monitor your heart rate while you're on the treadmill. Photo Credit Estudi M6/iStock/Getty Images

You're engaged in a heart-pumping treadmill session when suddenly the room seems to spin around you. This dizziness, which may even make you feel nauseous, can keep you from exercising on the treadmill. Understanding why treadmill-related dizziness occurs can help you prevent this condition from recurring.

Significance

The mechanism by which a treadmill works can make you feel dizzy when operating it. While on the treadmill, your body is moving, but you aren't traveling a distance. If you feel dizzy or nauseated, this can signal motion sickness. Motion sickness occurs because your brain is interpreting different signals. Your inner ear may sense you're in motion, yet your eyes don't interpret motion -- this can make you feel dizzy.

Dizziness Post-Workout

Treadmill dizziness can continue or even increase after you exit the treadmill. Your body becomes disoriented because you're still moving, but the ground isn't moving underneath you. With frequent treadmill sessions, your body likely will acclimate to the differences between the ground and a moving platform. Until then, reduce your dizziness by exiting the treadmill and holding on to a stable object. Wait a few minutes for your dizziness to subside.

Prevention/Solution

If your dizziness is related to motion sickness, ensuring your eyes are focused in the right position can help reduce your symptoms. Keep your eyes forward. Don't look down at the feet of other treadmill users, which can make you feel dizzy. Because your feet often follow the action of your eyes, this will help prevent you from tripping or walking on the side of the treadmill belt.

Warning

Dizziness may indicate you're exercising at too vigorous a pace on your treadmill. Rate your perceived exertion on a scale of one to 10. If it's over seven, you may be exercising too hard. If you're so out of breath you cannot speak comfortably while exercising, reduce your speed. This will reduce your dizziness and the strain on your heart. However, if you continue to feel dizzy, cease exercising. Stand or sit with your head elevated above your heart.

Testing

If you're experiencing dizziness because of a rapid heartbeat while on the treadmill, your physician may recommend an exercise stress test to measure your heart’s functioning, according to the American Heart Association. During the stress test, electrodes placed on your chest measure your heart’s functioning. Measuring such vital signs as your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing can help your physician determine whether your dizziness is related to a heart condition or a less serious issue.

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