Have you ever finished a tough workout or an intense set only to feel suddenly lightheaded, faint, or dizzy? It's a fairly common phenomenon, but it can still be unsettling to go from sprints or squat sets to struggling to stay upright. So what's going on, and what can you do to curb that dizzy feeling after (or during) a workout?
Why Do I Feel Dizzy After a Workout?
There are a few reasons you might be getting dizzy or faint after a workout.
- Drop in blood pressure: It's natural for your blood pressure to drop after exercise, with most people experiencing their lowest blood pressure about 30 to 60 minutes after exercise. However, you might experience the drop more quickly, especially if you don't cool down after an especially taxing workout, which can result in a wave of dizziness.
- Dehydration: If you sweat a lot during an intense workout, you may lose enough water to become dehydrated, especially if the weather is warm. Other symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst (the obvious one), fatigue, and dry mouth.
- Low blood sugar: Your body uses glucose (sugar) to fuel your workouts, first drawing from the glucose in your bloodstream (aka blood sugar) and then dipping into reserves. If your blood sugar level drops low enough, it starts to affect your brain, leaving you feeling dizzy or fatigued and potentially causing shaking, sweating, confusion, or headaches.
How Do I Stop Feeling Dizzy After Exercise?
- Drink plenty of water. When you're running or working out, make sure to have a water bottle nearby and know where your closest refilling stations are. Take plenty of water breaks, especially if it's hot or humid.
- Sit down and take a break. If you're feeling lightheaded during a workout, don't try to push through it. Take a break, sit down, drink some water, and try putting your head between your knees, which can help with low blood pressure.
- Fuel up before a workout. To prevent a drop in blood sugar, have a snack before your workout. Try eating an easily digestible food with a bit of protein, like a Nutri-Grain bar or a banana with peanut butter, about an hour before your workout. This gives your body some glucose to draw on when your workout gets intense.
- Don't push yourself too hard. Workouts are all about challenging yourself, but it's important to know your limits. If you're struggling to breathe or feel like you're physically incapable of continuing a workout, give yourself a break to cool down and drink some water. Modify your exercises, slow down your pace, or try a less intense workout to build up your stamina.
Dizziness during a workout, no matter the cause, is a sign that you're pushing your body a little too far past its limits. Don't worry if you need to take a break, sip some water, grab a snack, or dial back your workout a bit. And if you continue to get dizzy in your workouts, make sure to talk to your doctor.