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Nausea From Sit Ups

author image Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch specializes in nutrition, health, acupuncture, herbal medicine and integrative medicine. He has a B.A. in English from George Mason University, as well as a master's degree in traditional Chinese medicine.
Nausea From Sit Ups
Proper form when performing situps can help you avoid straining your muscles. Photo Credit LarsZahnerPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

Nausea during or after doing situps is not uncommon, but that doesn't mean it should be a regular occurrence. In many cases, the nausea results from improper eating habits or a fluid imbalance, but it can indicate something more serious, such as a gastrointestinal disorder. Certain medications can also cause nausea. If you continually have nausea while performing situps, consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.


A common cause of nausea with regard to exercise is eating too soon beforehand. In a 2001 study that looked at the relationship between eating and exercise, researchers at Nagoya University in Japan found that those who ate right before exercising experienced nausea more frequently than those who had not eaten in several hours, particularly when they did high-intensity exercise. Situps add to this effect because of the pressure they put on the abdominal area. To avoid nausea caused by overeating, eat a smaller meal two to four hours before performing situps. If you have not eaten or forgot to eat, consume a small snack no less than 30 minutes before doing situps.

Motion Sickness

Nausea can also occur if you start your workout with situps, according to Stew Smith, a certified strength and conditioning specialist. The nausea is similar to what many people feel when they are on a moving ship -- commonly referred to as sea sickness or motion sickness. It occurs when your eyes are either closed while performing situps or scanning the ceiling randomly without a focal point. To avoid motion sickness, Smith recommends locking your eyes onto a specific area of the ceiling while performing your situp routine.

Low Blood Sugar

Not getting enough fuel in your body can also induce nausea, especially if you are doing your situps first thing in the morning after skipping breakfast. Lack of glucose -- referred to as hypoglycemia or low blood sugar -- can lead to dizziness followed by nausea. Eating a meal two to four hours before you do your situps can help you avoid low blood sugar. If you forgot to eat, consume a small snack such as crackers and peanut butter or an energy bar.

Fluid Imbalance

Not drinking enough water -- dehydration -- or consuming too much water -- over-hydration -- can cause nausea when doing situps. This happens because both dehydration and over-hydration can lead to an imbalance between the level of fluids and sodium in the body, a condition referred to as hyponatremia or low blood sodium. When this happens, you can easily become nauseous when performing situps, especially if you are doing them after a workout that made you sweat a lot. To stay properly hydrated, consume water before, during and after exercise, but only when you are thirsty. Avoid forcing hydration or drinking on a set schedule. Drink water with electrolytes or a sports drink. This can help replace electrolytes lost when sweating.


If you find that you are still experiencing nausea while doing situps despite adjusting your food and water intake, consult a doctor for a diagnosis. There are many gastrointestinal issues that can be exacerbated by performing situps, such as irritable bowel syndrome or gastritis. Discuss any possible side effects of medications with your doctor. Nausea is a common side effect of several prescription and non-prescription medications. If you feel other symptoms, such as dizziness, fever and pain, along with the nausea, seek immediate medical attention.

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