by Angela Reed-Fox RN
Feeling faint during or after a class is not hugely rare. If you're new to vigorous workouts, or you've recently upped the intensity of your workouts you are more at risk of feeling dizzy or faint during or after your workout. However, I'm going to explain why it happens - and how you can avoid it.
There are two main reasons why you might feel dizzy. One is low blood sugar, and the other is low blood pressure.
low blood sugar
**For riders with diabetes**:
This is most common if you are diabetic and taking medication which directly reduces the sugar level of your blood - gliclazide and similar oral medications can do this (metformin, the most common antidiabetic medication will not do this) and some injectable treatments including insulin. If you are diabetic and you are undertaking new types of workouts, we strongly advise you let your diabetes nurse know what you're intending to do. You should take a small carbohydrate snack 20-30mins before you start your workout. Bring what you usually use for hypos if this is something you encounter.
If you are not diabetic, low blood sugar is less likely to cause a problem. However, with sudden intense exercise, particularly at high resistance, this can see your blood sugar dropping lower than normal for you. This can make you feel dizzy or faint. In this case:
As a precaution, before the class:
low blood pressure
It’s often the case that people (mostly women) with low blood pressure can feel dizzy during or after exercise. This is because one of the way the body maintains an even temperature is by dilating the blood vessels to cool down - this is why your skin goes red when you're hot. Also when you're working hard at a high intensity, your muscles are also demanding a greater blood supply. This is perfectly natural, and usually OK - only if you usually have low blood pressure, in this condition, less of your blood is supplying your brain with oxygen, which makes you feel dizzy or faint.
There are a few things you can do to avoid feeling faint or dizzy:
Avoiding dizziness during the session
If you keep feeling dizzy or faint
Come and talk to me. We'll have a chat, check your blood pressure etc and figure out what could be causing it. It's usually something very simple and easily managed.
It's OK, I'm a registered nurse - I have spent the last 12 years working in the community with people with chronic conditions and helping these and others to lose weight effectively and permanently. Much of this involves a sensible approach to exercise - and so I've seen this sort of thing before. I can help!