If you've ever stepped off the treadmill or elliptical trainer and experienced light-headedness, dizziness or nausea, you know how it can have a damper on your desire to exercise in the future. A number of different factors can play a role in your post-workout discomfort. Getting down to the bottom of the problem can help you avoid the condition in the future and leave you feeling refreshed and happy you worked out.
Feeling dizzy or light-headed is often a result of your body not being able to get enough blood and oxygen to your brain. Feelings of nausea could be caused by your body not having enough calories in your system to compensate for the amount of physical activity you're doing. When you exercise, your body also releases perspiration, which contains not just water, but also essential electrolytes like sodium. An abnormally low level of sodium in your body can cause a condition called hyponatremia, which includes symptoms like nausea and vomiting, fatigue and headache.
If you experience light-headedness, dizziness and nausea directly after working out, there are certain things you can do to immediately help your symptoms subside. Find an open area where you can lie down on the floor and put your feet up. This will help increase the blood flow to your upper body and head, which will help with the dizziness. Sip on a sports drink that contains essential electrolytes if you're feeling nauseous. Don't drink too much too fast.
The best way to prevent these symptoms when you work out is to not over-exert yourself when you're exercising. Staying within your target heart rate zone is an excellent way to pace yourself and your body when you're working out. You can figure out your target heart rate zone by subtracting your age from the number 220, then multiplying that number by .5 and .85. For example, if you are 55, your target heart rate zone would be between 82 and 140 beats per minute. Stay in the middle of your target heart rate zone to pace yourself. Eat a small snack about a half-hour before your workout that balances carbohydrates and protein. Drink a sports drink while you work out to replenish the electrolytes you lose when you sweat.
If you feel yourself getting dizzy or light-headed while you're working out, stop immediately and seek medical attention. You should always talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Your doctor can help you come up with a routine that works for your weight, medical history and conditions.