Why Do I Get Dizzy When I Workout?

Ever feel lightheaded or dizzy when working out? It’s not uncommon. Learn more about why it happens and how to prevent it.

Causes of Dizziness During Exercise

Feeling dizzy is a common complaint during or after exercise. It’s important to identify the cause of dizziness during exercise, as it can be a sign that something is wrong with your physical health. In this article, we’ll explore some of the possible causes of dizziness during workout, as well as how to prevent and treat it.

Low Blood Sugar

Exercising requires your body to use stored energy quickly and for a prolonged period. This can sometimes cause low blood sugar, which is a result of the process your body goes through to release glucose that has been stored in the liver. Low blood glucose levels, also known as hypoglycemia, can cause dizziness, fatigue, and confusion in some people who exercise vigorously.

Many athletes are particularly at risk of low blood sugar due to their active lifestyle and frequent strenuous workouts. Typical causes associated with exercised-induced hypoglycemia include inadequate food intake before exercise, increased physical activity levels that exceed the body’s ability to store energy (especially with long duration exercises), dehydration, and endocrine problems such as diabetes or other illnesses.

Given the wide range of variables that can affect blood sugar levels while exercising, it’s important to pay attention to any signs or symptoms of low blood sugar when working out. Even if you are not an athlete or constantly exercising at an intense level it is still important for all gym goers to monitor their nutrition and hydration carefully before and during exercise especially if feelings of dizziness or fatigue appear unexpectedly during a workout session.


Dehydration is one of the most common causes of dizziness during exercise. When the body lacks sufficient fluids, it is unable to carry out normal blood flow, causing blood pressure to drop and creating a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. It is important to stay well hydrated prior to, during and after exercise by drinking plenty of water and isotonic drinks. Some people may be more prone to dehydration due to their anatomy or inactivity levels; certain medications can also contribute. Be sure to monitor your fluid intake when exercising as even mild dehydration can affect how you feel after a workout session.

Low Blood Pressure

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) is a known cause of dizziness during exercise. With prolonged exercise, the body’s response is to send more blood to the active muscles and away from other parts of the body, including the brain. This can cause symptoms such as light-headedness or dizziness due to this shift in circulation. People who suffer from low-blood pressure are especially susceptible to experiencing dizziness when they work out, which can be aggravated while standing or exercising quickly after a meal. In some cases, these symptoms can be managed by making adjustments in lifestyle and diet, such as eating smaller meals prior to exercising or avoiding caffeine and other stimulants close to exercise sessions. To mitigate any symptoms associated with physical activity due to low blood pressure, it is important for individuals with this condition to engage in lower intensity exercises that promote better overall blood flow throughout their bodies.

Inner Ear Issues

Inner ear issues can be a common cause of dizziness during exercise. The inner ear is a complex balance system that is responsible for interpreting acceleration movements within the body and relaying them to the brain. When there is a disruption in this system, it can lead to dizziness or vertigo, as the messages being sent to the brain become confused. Inner ear disorders may be caused by a virus, injury, or inflammation. Symptoms of an inner ear issue can include feeling lightheaded and disoriented during exercise, nausea, headache, or difficulty concentrating. If you experience any of these symptoms while exercising, it’s important to seek medical advice to confirm whether it’s related to an inner ear disorder or something else.

Symptoms of Dizziness

Dizziness during exercise can be caused by a number of things. It could be that you are moving too quickly or that you are not getting enough oxygen. It can also be a sign of dehydration or low blood sugar. It is important to identify the underlying cause of your dizziness in order to properly address the issue. In this section, we’ll look at the different symptoms of dizziness that can occur during exercise and how to diagnose it correctly.


Lightheadedness, a symptom of dizziness, is a temporary feeling of faintness, disorientation and confusion that can be accompanied by an increased heart rate, difficulty focusing the eyes, coordination problems or even fainting. It can last from just a few moments to several hours. Lightheadedness may be caused by dehydration, anemia, prescribed medications or an underlying medical condition. If you experience lightheadedness when working out or exercising, it’s important to seek medical advice from your doctor to determine the underlying cause.


Nausea, a feeling of sickness and uneasiness in the stomach, is a common symptom associated with dizziness. Nausea is typically accompanied by other co-occurring symptoms, including vomiting, sweating and abdominal discomfort. It is important to note that nausea can be caused by underlying medical conditions that require medical treatment, such as diabetes or infections, rather than just physical activity. If you have been feeling sick or nauseous after working out or engaging in physical activity and are accompanied by dizziness or lightheadedness speak to your doctor immediately to rule out any underlying conditions.

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision can be one of the more common symptoms of dizziness. It is usually caused by the decrease in blood supply to the eyes due to a sudden change in position. This lack of blood flow can lead to vision problems such as double vision or an inability to focus on one specific object. Additionally, blurred vision caused by dizziness may come with difficulty standing straight or walking in a straight line. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to seek medical attention.


Vertigo is a type of dizziness that is accompanied by the feeling that you are spinning, or that the world around you is spinning. It can often be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Vertigo is typically caused by an inner ear infection or imbalance. It may also be caused by abnormal brain signals as a result of stroke or head injury. Other potential causes include allergies, high blood pressure, dehydration, medications and more severe illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and stroke. If you are experiencing vertigo while working out, it’s important to seek medical attention right away — it could indicate something more serious than just a mild inner ear infection.

Prevention and Treatment

Dizziness during exercise can be a result of a number of different factors. It can be caused by a lack of oxygen, dehydration, or even a build-up of toxins in the body. To prevent this from happening and to help reduce the severity of dizziness, it is important to understand the causes and take steps to mitigate it. Let’s take a closer look at the prevention and treatment of exercise-induced dizziness.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout is essential for preventing and treating episodes of dizziness. Dehydration can lead to a decrease in blood volume, which can cause your blood pressure to drop. When the brain does not get enough oxygen from the blood supply due to lower circulation, it can cause feelings of dizziness.

It is recommended that you drink about 17 ounces of fluids two hours before exercise, swish 7-10 ounces about every 10-20 minutes during exercise and consume 8 ounces within 30 minutes after finishing your workout. The total amount of water you need depends on the intensity and duration of your activity session. If you are sweating a great deal while exercising, like in the warm weather or due to intense activities indoors, then you will lose more body fluid and require even greater amounts of water – drink more when it is hot or when intensity increases! Dehydration can prevent optimal performance and make sense unsteady so make sure that you balance fluid losses by drinking enough before and during workouts.

Avoid Excessive Heat

When exercising or undertaking physical activity, it is important to ensure you don’t become overly hot and exhausted. Dizziness during exercise can sometimes be a sign of heat exhaustion or dehydration, which can occur as a result of sweating and loss of electrolytes during physical activity. To help prevent this from occurring, it is important to maintain adequate hydration by drinking liquids before, during, and after activity. It is also prudent to avoid exercising in extremely hot and humid climates – opting for a cooler environment such as an air-conditioned gym – or wearing appropriate clothing that will allow sweat vaporization. This will help prevent dehydration, overheating, and fatigue; all of which can cause dizziness when working out.

Eat Before Exercise

Before physical activity, eating a light meal or snack can help to fuel your body and avoid feeling lightheaded or dizzy during exercise. Eating something small with a healthy balance of carbohydrates and proteins helps to stabilize your blood sugar and provide energy for your muscles. Carbohydrates such as bread, crackers, pretzels, fruit, and yogurt are good options for pre-workout snacks. Some quick protein sources include eggs, nuts, nut butters, string cheese, Greek yogurt or peanut butter toast.

Roughly 1-2 hours prior to working out you should try to eat a meal of lean proteins combined with complex carbohydrates like oatmeal or whole wheat toast. Eating larger meals 3-4 hours prior can help maximize the energy available during exercise while avoiding any feelings of queasiness that may be associated with large meals right before physical activity.

It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water both before and after exercise. Dehydration can result in dizziness due to the influences on the circulation system which could lead further into fainting spells – so make sure to drink up!

Take Breaks During Exercise

It is important to take breaks when exercising, especially if you have experienced dizziness or lightheadedness during your workouts. Taking breaks helps the body adjust to changes in blood pressure and oxygen levels. During an intense workout, break for 1-2 minutes by walking or slowing down the intensity of your exercises. You should also aim to hydrate during exercise, especially in hot weather and during long workouts. Keeping your body hydrated can help prevent dizziness. Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption prior to working out can help reduce the risk of decreased tolerance and dehydration. Eating a snack before working out may also be beneficial as it can provide fuel for the body and prevent issues with glucose levels, which can lower blood pressure further resulting in lightheadedness and dizziness.

Seek Medical Attention

If you experience sudden or ongoing dizziness during or after exercise, it’s important to speak to a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment. There are various medical conditions that could cause dizziness such as inner ear problems; heart arrhythmias; anemia; dehydration; heat illness and heat stroke; hypoglycemia from low blood sugar levels; certain neurological disorders such as vertigo and labyrinthitis, as well muscular-related effects. A healthcare provider can help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan specific to you. The treatment plan may include physical therapy, medications or lifestyle changes — or may simply require cautious rest — but the most important first step is seeking out a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

When to See a Doctor

If you get dizzy frequently while you exercise, it is important that you seek medical help. This is because there could be underlying medical conditions like an inner ear infection or anemia which could be causing the dizziness. Seeing a doctor and getting a proper diagnosis can help you determine the cause of your dizziness and receive the right medical treatment.

If Symptoms Persist

If you continue to experience dizziness during and/or after exercise, it’s best to consult your doctor as this could be a sign of an underlying issue. Dizziness can be caused by a variety of medical problems, ranging from heart disease to inner ear issues. Your doctor will be able to conduct exams and screenings to help determine the cause, so that the appropriate course of treatment can be prescribed.

In addition, while not medically serious in most cases, unexplained dizziness that occurs during physical activity may indicate an improper diet or inadequate rest. Make sure that you have eaten healthy meals and are getting enough sleep before exercising, as these are essential for normal bodily functioning and balancing. If all else fails, discussing the problem with your doctor is likely your best option for obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding potential solutions.

If You Experience Fainting

If you experience fainting or a loss of consciousness during or after exercise, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. This could indicate a serious cardiovascular problem such as an arrhythmia, aortic stenosis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral aneurysm, hypoglycemia, or heat stroke. Additionally, recurrent occurrences of lightheadedness while exercising should be evaluated by a physician to determine the cause and rule out dangerous conditions.

In less severe instances where fainting is not present but other symptoms of dizziness remain—like blurred vision and difficulty walking—experiencing unsteadiness or imbalance may indicate prolonged dehydration or electrolyte abnormalities. In this case, it’s best to discontinue your workout and see a doctor for further evaluation and/or treatment as soon as possible. Medical attention is also recommended if you experience recurring episodes of dizziness in the days following exercise.

If You Have a History of Heart Disease

If you have a history of heart disease or other cardiovascular issues, it’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. You may need to be monitored during physical activity, and you should also be sure that you’re not engaging in activities that could put strain on your heart. Swimming or low-impact activities such as walking are generally the safest forms of cardio exercise for those with a history of heart conditions.

It is particularly important to speak with a doctor if you feel faint or experience dizziness while exercising. These symptoms can indicate an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, and your doctor can provide the best course of action for ensuring that it does not worsen over time.

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