Nausea, Dizziness & Shaking After a Hard Workout

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Woman and man running stairs in outdoor setting. (Image: gbh007/iStock/Getty Images)

When it comes to exercise, more isn't always better. If you work out too hard, you might find yourself getting nauseated, feeling dizzy, or shaking. If you keep pushing yourself, you might even throw up. Those symptoms aren't just annoying, they can set you up for health problems. Fortunately with a little information, you can keep yourself healthy while working out.

Misconceptions

Some athletes view nausea, shaking, dizziness or even vomiting as a badge of honor, according to Lon Kilgore, Ph.D., of CrossFit in Santa Cruz, California. However, there is no honor in hurting yourself by exercising too much. Dr. Kilgore reports that intense exercise interferes with your digestive system's functioning, and if you throw up, you expose the lining of your esophagus with harsh stomach acid, potentially damaging it.

Causes

Intense exercise causes nausea, dizziness and shaking in a variety of ways. First, intense exercise pulls blood away from the lining of your stomach and intestines, which can cause nausea, reports Dr. Kilgore. If you aren't careful to drink enough water during exercise, you can become dehydrated, which can cause dizziness. Shaking is a common response to exhaustion.

Response and Treatment

If you start getting sick to your stomach, feeling dizzy, or feel your muscles start to shake while you are exercising, responding properly can help you avoid health problems. If you're not done with your workout, you may find relief from something as simple as reducing exercise intensity, reports Dr. Kilgore. However, if you experience severe dizziness, sit down so that you don't fall and hit your head on something, which can cause a concussion.

Prevention

Keep nausea, dizziness and shaking at bay by taking a few precautions. If you're new to exercise, start slow and gradually work up to higher-intensity workouts. You can also use the "talk test." According to researchers at the University of New Mexico, "When an exerciser reaches an intensity at which he or she can “just barely respond in conversation,” the intensity is considered to be safe and appropriate for cardiorespiratory endurance improvement." You can also keep track of exercise intensity using your heart rate. Stay in your target heart rate range and you won't over-stress your system.

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