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What Causes Dizziness After Walking in the Cold?

by
author image Ronald McLendon, Jr.
Ronald McLendon, Jr. has been writing professionally since 2010 and has a background in health sciences and business. McLendon holds a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Master of Business Administration.
What Causes Dizziness After Walking in the Cold?
Sometimes you can feel dizzy after walking in the cold. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

A decrease in temperature can be among the causes of dizziness; direct contact with cold air or cold water during a walk outdoors might thus lead to this unpleasant sensation. Most episodes of dizziness pose no serious threat to your health and may resolve on their own, according to the MedlinePlus online medical encyclopedia. Consult your doctor if your dizziness persists or worsens.

Symptoms

Dizziness is the unpleasant sensation you feel when you become lightheaded, feel faint, lose your balance or feel as if the room is spinning. Sometimes also called vertigo, there are several potential causes.

Causes

If you are becoming dizzy after being exposed to cold temperatures, it could be because your blood vessels are constricting, or becoming smaller, and thus carrying less blood to your brain. Your body does this in response to a decrease in temperature to guard against heat loss. Since this is your body's initial reaction to ward off hypothermia or low core body temperature, you may also notice cold skin or shivering. This protective mechanism is designed to redirect blood to your body’s vital organs and prevent heat loss.

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Treatment

If blood-vessel constriction triggered by cold weather is the cause of your dizziness, keeping warm can help you avoid this. Be sure to dress in layers in the winter, wearing a coat with good insulation. You should nevertheless ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, as the blood vessel constriction can cause transient increases in blood pressure.

Exercise Alternatives

If you find that you become dizzy after walking in the cold despite taking precautions, consider changing your exercise regimen. Walk during the warmest, sunniest parts of winter days, or around your local indoor mall. Consider joining a gym or other fitness facility, where you will have access to treadmills and various other cardiovascular exercise machines — and where you're not at the mercy of the elements.

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References

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