Have you ever felt lightheaded and weak after a great workout? This can be due to a number of factors including low blood pressure, low blood sugar or dehydration.
Put your heart into it
Exercise gets your blood pumping and brings oxygen and energy to the areas of your body that are working the hardest. When we exercise our legs compress the blood vessels in order to get the blood back to the heart. But once we stop moving, the blood settles in the legs, leading to lightheadedness. In order to prevent this, take your time recovering and always include a cool-down. You can also flex your leg muscles or go for an easy walk to keep the blood circulating. If this is a consistent issue for you, or if you feel lightheaded everytime you stand up, check with your doctor, you may have chronic low blood pressure.
When your muscles are working, they are using sugar (glucose) for fuel. Everyone’s blood sugar levels can vary depending on hormones, what you eat and your body’s make up (for instance if you have more muscle mass, you burn more fuel). After a tough workout, your blood sugar may need a boost. To avoid the dizzying effects of low blood sugar including fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, and shakes, eat an easily digested snack before exercise, and/or one of our healthy post-workout snacks if you exercised intensely or for longer than 1 hour.
Replenish your fluids
When you sweat, your body rids of impurities and brings water to your skin in order to help you cool off. As a result, you also shed valuable electrolytes, which are crucial to your hydration and fluid balance. This can result in muscle fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. The body loses water faster than electrolytes so you most likely won’t need electrolytes if exercising less than one hour (note that hotter and more humid environments make for more fluid and electrolyte loss). A good way to test if you’re properly hydrated is to look at your urine. It should have lots of fluid with a light yellow color. Make sure you get enough water by making it fun to drink.
If you’re sweating a lot during exercise, take an isotonic sports drink to your next workout instead of water. An isotonic drink contains similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body. It can help you replace lost fluids while providing you with carbohydrates for a quick energy boost.
What is an isotonic sports drink
We’re guessing the first thing that popped into your head is probably Gatorade or Powerade beverages. While this colorful drink replenishes your body with the needed minerals, it’s not the healthiest option with around 34 grams of sugar. As a comparison, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has about 39 grams of sugar. Natural isotonic drinks such as unsweetened coconut water are the healthier choice. You can also replenish electrolytes through food. To cover your sodium loss, aim for salty foods such as olives, salted nuts or pickles. To replenish the other electrolytes, focus on foods such as banana, yogurt and raisins. Just make sure they are easy to digest (i.e. no complex carbs or fiber-filled snacks) since your blood will be flowing to your muscles and skin rather than your stomach.
Still want that isotonic sports drink? Try making your own with Coach Alba’s recipe below.
Homemade sports drink by Coach Alba
To make a homemade sports drink, combine the following ingredients:
- 1 liter of water
- 1 whole orange
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
Bring this to your workouts and say goodbye to post-workout blues. Happy hydrating!