Friedbrain

Dizzy After Working Out?

20 posts in this topic

I have a question about what's causing my dizziness *after* I work out. It's been going on for about two years now. I am fine DURING the workouts, but afterward, in the locker room or in the car, I start getting dizzy. Adding 2x electrolyte packets to my water during the workouts helped; I was able to experimentally induce a REALLY bad episode by leaving out the electrolytes (sodium?) when I was on a holter monitor, thinking it would help the cardio figure out what was wrong. I'd gotten in the car and then started feeling dizzy, then tachycardia, and then all-over body shaking. Dh brought salted peanuts and electrolyte packets to me (I couldn't drive to get home) and sat it out until I calmed down. Long story short, cardio just said it was dysautonomia and to salt load.....

Anyway, that's the backstory. Even WITH the 2x electrolyte packet in my water (actually, today, I drank 2x w/ water on the way to work out, and another 2x packet with water during, the first time I've worked out in a long time), I still had the same problem: got into my car and felt relaxed, but then my head started spinning a bit and I had to sit there to make sure I could drive home. So........why does this happen? I'm wondering if it's that my heart doesn't slow down in comparison with my breathing. Would that make sense? Is there something else I can do to reduce the likelihood of this happening? There are times when I know something's coming on when I'm at home, and I combat it with physical activity. For example, I have dumbells and doing arm pumps increases my heartrate and breathing and then I calm down from that "naturally"; other times, I've had the feeling that I need to jog, like I'm running to escape a seizure. I thought maybe it was because I had adrenaline in my system and needed to physiologically match it......none of this probably makes sense. I don't understand it myself lol

Anyway, any ideas? When I'm sitting there in the car and feeling dizzy and/or shaky, I don't really want to get out and run around in circles since I just finished all that! I need to figure out a way to cool down ( I do stretch out before leaving; and I used to even change when I was done. While I might've been a little dizzy while changing, it was always worse in the car when I was just sitting there) that prevents this rebound effect. Thanks!

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As far as whats causing it, my guess would be BP dropping and or HR increasing. You may want to inquire about a stress test so that you can be monitored before, during and after cardio to see whats going on. I personally have Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia and this does happen to me, I can be siting or even laying down and my HR will nearly double on its own.

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Hi Friedbrain! I have issues with working out too. Your words "dizzy, then tachycardia, and then all-over body shaking" could have been my own! I will get dizzy, tachycardia, flushing, and then all-over body shaking. I thought maybe I am having a MCAD and/or hyperadrenergic reaction but haven't been able to confirm or deny this yet through medical tests. Have you taken your BP during this time? I had an intense episode about 3 weeks back and I had my BP cuff on me and it would range from 99/80 all the way to 165/117!! The high numbers really scared me. I did, after nearly 2 hours and no come down from BP spikes and tachycardia end up in the ER. Pumped me full of fluids and sent me home...

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It makes sense to take my bp cuff with me in the car when I go work out next time and then measure if afterward (in the car) to see what's going on. The more data the better, always! I, too, have had the very low pulse pressure (in the middle of the night), which is maybe a sign of shock (from unknown cause), resulting in adrenaline rush, maybe overshooting and/or overresponding with the tachycardia and shakes?

katT, while my episodes were usually nocturnal, one time it happened during the daytime and the shaking did not stop-my fingers were numb, the docs were out to lunch, and the medcheck told my friend to take me to the ER. The ER loaded me up with enough ativan that the ceiling was spinning in a delightfully pleasant way (er, can you say loopy?) and sent me home. So when I induced that shaking episode above, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to die (and that going to the ER was worthless) which is why I was able to sit through it. But still, it's disconcerting never knowing if and for how long I'll be stranded somewhere because of these spells. If I could figure out how to prevent them completely (or know what to do when they happen in public like this), that would help so much!

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Mine is usually related to a BP drop-- even if not low, my bp usually rises (at least in my brain) when I work out and get blood pumping and the relative drop from slowing down can cause symptoms, and sometimes it just tanks. Also, sometimes I find I'm working out on adrenaline pushing myself, and crash afterwards, even if I'm not working out too hard. I sometimes have to sit in the car or a cool part of the locker room and "chill out" before I'm safe to drive. For me, I've gotten better over time at avoiding pushing too hard, which seems to help.

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My doctor says never to push to exhaustion; it sounds as if you may be over doing it a bit. Drinking fluids is imperative during a work out, especially for us, and it sounds as if you are really tachycardic. Bring it down a notch. My heart rate is all over the map when I exercise on the elliptical; if it goes over 200, I slow down. Just listen to your body :)

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One other possibility is exercise can cause mast cell degranulation. It could be a reaction to the histamines produced from this degranulation.

Issie

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I got this a lot when I started exercising and before my diagnosis. I took my BP immediately after walking and it was commonly 88/80. My doctor at the time said that this wasn't possible and that my BP cuff was broken. I went out and bought another and it read exactly the same! My new/diagnosing doc explained it very nicely: when you exercise, your blood vessels dilate and the blood is moved into the muscles. When you stop, your vessels are still dilated, but the heart is not having to keep up with the muscular demand, so the blood is "pooling" in the muscle and not in the circulatory system so you become pseudo-hypovolemic (at least in my case.) So my BP actually was 88/80 and he was shocked that I could even see well enough to read the cuff! Needless to say, I was dizzy and feeling weird!

I "fixed" this by slowing down gradually and then laying down for 10-15 minutes after every "workout" so that my BP and HR would normalize without sacrificing the blood to my brain. ;)

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If you work out at a gym you could find a nice mat to lay down on and "stretch" for 15 minutes! LOL Or lay with your hands in a prayer position on your chest and say your doing yoga!

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I got is severely at first. Pushed through it and it went away.

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Firewatcher's description of what's actually happening seems to make sense in my case.... the least bit of exertion, and my BP drops drastically. Just yesterday I went outside for about 15 minutes and pulled up dandelions - I was slightly out of breath while doing it. Came inside and was shaking and dizzy. Same thing if I take a walk - even if I feel okay while I'm taking the walk, afterwards I feel weak and shaky and have never been able to figure out why. I think I unconsciously am avoiding exerting myself for that reason: I know that my body is going to react in a way that makes me feel very woozy afterwards. (My BP in those situations is usually about 85-90/55-60.)

I guess I need to make sure I'm hydrated and have plenty of salt before any exertion. The "winding down slowly" does make sense, except that I'm not doing anything particularly active - !

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I hit this too, but usually only when I'm really doing cardio/pushing my body. Just walking doesn't seem to trigger it. My BP and pulse almost immediately drop after exercising. As in my pulse will go from 150+ down to 65 within 1 beat and stay there.

So, I predominantly use the gym for strength training, which makes me dizzy while I'm doing it, but that usually stops a few minutes after I stop lifting weights. My cardio is usually walking or inline skating. Walking is alright and usually doesn't trigger things too much, but I don't feel that sense of accomplishment afterwards like I do after skating. Skating also allows me wear protection for my osteoporosis (helmet, thick pads, padded shorts) without people thinking too much of it. I just plan on passing out, so I'll keep up the intensity until I get back home, take off my skates and leave the pads on until I stabilize. Lately I just come in and lay down on the couch still wearing the pads and pass out.

The only thing I can suggest from experience is to take the workout down a few notches. I rarely have symptoms from walking. Also, be consistent. My worst problem having to fit in exercise in the very limited free time I have these days. My work has me on the road most of the time, with a brutal and inconsistent schedule. Back when I was in college and was able to have a daily routine, the dizziness afterwards was dramatically better.

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I get lightheaded after exercising at the gym (not after walking around, but after specifically doing exercise stuff) - both recumbant stationary biking and swimming. The swimming is worst, I think probably because I was more horizontal than the recumbant bike which is more like sitting with the legs somewhat elevated. I've never actually fainted but it was close the first time I swam; it's just unpleasant otherwise. Now after biking I sit on the bike seat for a minute or so, then get up and stand around the bike, then lift the leg - the whole thing takes a few minutes. With swimming I stand in the shallow end (thankfully the pool at my university has a shallow end I can stand in!), then sit at the edge of the pool, then get up with the help of the ladder and hold on to it for a little bit. I always get funny looks from the lifeguard staff, though, but it's worth it to not fall over. No idea about my BP at the time, sadly.

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Oh Em Gee!!! Firewatcher, for the very first time ever, I think it makes sense to me!!!! The whole blood pressure thing is confusing to me, but I think what you said fits with a logical explanation. So here's what I think: when working out and doing cardio, my body needs more blood all over. So the vessels dilate, but my heart is pumping faster to get that blood all over. All's good, and I feel great, for the most part, working out. Then I cool down and I'm lying on the floor stretching. My heartrate is slowing down, which is how I assess my cooldown progress. All's good on the floor. Then I stand up and go get my stuff. Now, in Normals, blood vessels must constrict in order to get blood up to brain (gravity and all that), but for some reason doesn't happen. I feel a little off but not enough that I am stopped by it (though if I don't saltload, I DO notice it right away). Make it to the car, and SIT. Now I'm REALLY relaxed, so my heart is slowing down in response to my sitting; BUT my blood pressure hasn't increased at all.......so my brain starts starving and I become dizzy......woo, not good.

scenario a.... I'm dizzy and drink some water, another electrolyte packet, or cautiously make it home where I start moving again, which raises my heartrate enough that I'm not about to pass out.

scenario b.. in some situations, possibly under stress or without enough salt or whatever physiological state is the trigger (or maybe my bp drops so much that my brain starves enough to trigger it).....the body responds to starving brain......the shock like state.....by releasing adrenaline......and my body over-responds (either puts out too much adrenaline or hyper-responds to adrenaline) and I start the all-over body shaking. (I've been told this is a typical response to adrenaline.....but surely NOT typical for someone who just worked out let alone no apparent trigger at all. I had a med-check doc send me to the ER once because of this shaking. It's not normal!)

Does this fit others' experience and understanding? Wow, now to figure out why my bp doesn't respond.....!

Fwiw, I had a visit with a personal trainer today, so it was an atypical workout for me (I usually start with cardio and then do weights). He showed me around the weight machines, doing reps here and there. Strenuous but not cardio. I was FINE (felt a happy burn, in fact). But at the end, he wanted to show me a cool trick that is cardio along with working upper body. It's shaking this 50lb rope vigorously for 30 sec. Numerous times. Boy, it got my heartrate up along with the burn. After I was done with that and walking away from the gym, I was feeling a little woozy! I think Firewatcher is really onto something!

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I did those ropes...once. That kind of intense cardio will cause me to grey-out/black-out within two minutes. I am much better at strength training/Pilates. If I start feeling that way, I slowly cool down, continuing to move until I feel OK. I get the shaking too, it definitely signifies that I "overdid" it!

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My doctor at the Cleveland clinic told me to lay down directly after exercise for 20 min. and eat a salty snack and drink before and after. Take it slow and gradualiy increase to 30 min. three times a week. Everyday is the best. Maybe you can lay in your car before you get dizzy. I am always dizzy while laying. Good luck! :rolleyes:

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What firewatcher said makes sense. I had discovered this same pattern about a year ago. I run a little, walk a little, and do pilates a little. Pilates doesn't make me dizzy. But I noticed that on the days when I ran or walked, I felt dizzy afterwards. Instinctively, I started doing my post-workout stretching while laying down instead of while standing or sitting. When I end my workout and stop moving, it feels as if there is a sudden pooling in my lower half. I think that the movement of my body (skeletal pump) helped my heart to pump my blood while I was working out, and as soon as I stopped, my heart was on its own, with the added stress of having dilated vessels. I have no idea what is going on with my blood pressure, but I wear a heart rate monitor and my post-workout heartrate is sometimes much higher than it was when I was working out. There is one thing that I can't figure out though. Why would I get more dizzy from walking (dizzy during the latter half of the walk as well as afterward) than running?

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SoliDeoGloria - I wonder if you feel more dizzy from walking because your legs are doing less intensive exercise, so they aren't pumping blood back to your head as much as when you're jogging (when the muscles are pumping)?

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I asked my hubby about this and he said that when you run the pumps in your legs are actively pumping and all the blood goes out into the muscles - when you slow down that action slows down and then you will probably get pooling because you don't have the pump actively pumping the blood and our bodies don't pump right on its own. But, we can't stay in a full out exercise mode - so maybe with time our bodies will re-train itself and continue with the pumping even without active exercise. For some of us though, walking is enough activity to cause the pumping action and it helps. So, it depends on where your fitness level is. (Seems to make sense to me.) Also, that would make sense about short burst of exercise over the day - because, that would engage that pumping action and we would probably do better through the whole day - because it would help with pooling.

Issie

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I get dizzy after exercise too. I find that my HR just doesn't calm down. Warming up and cooling down definitely helps. Sometimes I like down and put my legs up the wall for 5 min, which helps to bring the blood bck to my head. Wearing compression hose also helps, and monitoring my heart rate to make sure it isn't going too high during exercise.

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