By Simon Gould
Exercising on a treadmill is not the most natural thing to do where the floor moves and you don’t go anywhere. This can be quite disorienting at first and it is something you will get used to after you train for a longer period. You may even feel dizzy when you get off the treadmill. Here are 5 reasons why this could be happening.
Sufferers will tell you vertigo is not a fear of heights. When you get off your treadmill and the room feels like it’s spinning. It could be vertigo. It’s often described as more than just feeling dizzy. But a mild case may show these symptoms. An attack can last from seconds to hours. Getting off a treadmill can definitely trigger one.
Most vertigo doesn’t affect your life, but if it keeps happening and for prolong periods, then you need to see a professional. It may get to the point where you can’t use your treadmill. It’s your head movement that causes the problem. You may need to consider an alternative form of exercise like an exercise bike or eliptical trainer.
2. Motion sickness
It takes a while to get used to running on a treadmill in the same spot. It’s not a natural thing to do, we’re used to covering some distance when we run. The brain is getting signals that you should be moving when you’re not. Just like people can get motion sickness in cars, trains, boats and planes, you can get them on treadmills too.
This should ease over time. If it doesn’t try looking at a spot in front of you and concentrating on it. Don’t look down or hold onto the handrails. You could distract yourself from the sensation by watching TV, or looking at the distance or calories burned number change on the console. Speak to a professional if it’s something you can’t get over.
3. Lack of a cool down
Whether you’re walking or running you may feel dizzy if you stop abruptly. One minute you’re walking on an incline and exerting yourself and then you suddenly stop. The same can be said of running. This is where the disorientation could occur and why a cool down is always recommended especially if you’ve been on the treadmill for a long time.
The cool down will usually take 5 minutes and will be similar to what you were doing but to a lessor intensity. So if you were walking up a 6% incline at a brisk pace then the cool down will be a more gentler walk and less of an incline. A runner may jog for a cool down and a jogger may walk. Whatever brings your heat rate down in a constant way is best.
4. Lack of fluids or food
One thing you need to do when exercising is keep yourself hydrated. We know that performance suffers if you don’t drink enough and it can make you feel dizzy as well. This can be while you’re exercising or appear afterwards. If it’s while you’re exercising then we would recommend you stop and see if it continues.
You shouldn’t eat and exercise straight away, there needs to be an hour difference or so between eating and exercising. Lack of food can make you feel dizzy even if you haven’t been on a treadmill. As far as fluids go you should ensure your urine is a pale color whenever you go. You should drink water for every 10 minutes of exercise.
5. Over exertion
Perhaps you’re walking on your treadmill at a quick speed or a great incline or if you’re running a further distance than you ever have. Then these conditions may cause you to feel dizzy. You may feel light headed where you’ve gone so far where you haven’t pushed yourself before. The handlebars are there should you feel the need to use them.
You need to remember to warm up as well as cool down. It isn’t a race, you don’t need and shouldn’t start at your race pace and never slow down. You will over exert yourself and feel dizzy. You need to build up to a long run or interval sprints. Your body can cope with extending it’s limits but only in a gradual way. Think about the intensity of your exercise.
Think about your safety
Firstly, if any of the above don’t apply, then it could be a sign of something more serious. There are many known medical conditions that can cause dizziness. Abnormal blood pressure or low blood sugar are just a few of the possible medical causes. See a health care professional to make sure it’s not something to be concerned about.
Otherwise, if it happens often, then remember to use the emergency safety key. Attach it to your clothing so if you fall off, you won’t suffer friction burns or other injuries from a moving belt. If you do get dizzy and you want to get off, make sure the belt has fully stopped. Remember the handrails are there for your safety too.
You should consult a health care professional before you undertake an exercise program especially if you’re over 40. You may also want to see someone if you feel the dizziness is unusual or particularly strong. Don’t be afraid to stop exercising immediately if you’re feeling any pain you haven’t felt before and it concerns you.
If you do feel a bit strange sometimes, try and not let that put you off. Exercise, especially if you’re just beginning, can make the body feel sore afterwards and is a big adjustment if you’ve been sedentary for a long time. Practise makes perfect and your body and mind will quickly get used to your new routine and it will start making you feel better in mind and body.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*