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The Post-Run Spin


For all of you runners out there who suffer from post-run dizziness, there could be a fairly simple fix or it could be an indication of a more serious condition requiring a consultation with a physician. Not only is such dizziness annoying, but it can also be a frightening experience. Often it occurs suddenly which could pose a hazard. Feelings of spinning, phantom movement, or loss of balance are all symptomatic of a “dizzy spell” after running. So, if you love to run and sometimes “spin” afterwards, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Such spinning can continue even after a good night’s rest. So, if this is a problem for you, dear reader, then please read on for the possibility of a solution.

An obvious cause can simply be over-exertion. If you pushed yourself beyond your limits, it’s your body’s way of saying, “I need a break.” This happens because blood vessels dilate during the run in order to support the higher intensity of exercise. Abruptly stopping slows the heart rate quickly and decreases blood flow. However, the blood vessels are still in an expanded state. The dizzy spell is a result of a sudden drop in blood pressure. To prevent dizziness in this case, respect the physiological design of your body and have a gradual cool down period.

When, or if, you do have an episode of vertigo, the first thing to do is to lie down. Not only is this the safest position to be in so as to prevent injury, but it also brings the head level with the heart. That will help deliver blood flow to the brain which will alleviate dizziness sooner. Cease any exercise activity or, at the very least, slow down the pace and intensity.

Serious warning signs that accompany post-run vertigo are severe head pain, blurry vision, stiff neck, weakness in extremities, any impairment of speech or hearing, chest pain, and a temperature spike. If symptoms such as these present themselves, medical attention should be immediately sought after.

If dizziness alone is occurring regularly after a run, first, take a look at your calorie intake. It’s possible it is too low. Also, by including in a diet foods like spinach, that are rich in iron, runners can feel great while at the same time helping to prevent a case of anemia.

For women, a case of post-run dizziness could also be contributed to hormonal imbalance. If menstrual cycles are not consistent, this is something worth looking into. Not only because hormonal correction could help to prevent such episodes, but hormonal correction can protect bone density. The last thing a dedicated runner wants are fragile bones at risk of fracture.

Post-run dizziness and the “spins” is just another way to say “benign positional vertigo”. This is a condition that can also occur because of “sludge” build up within the inner ear that disrupts natural fluid flow. This flow of fluid helps a person remain spatially oriented throughout any type of movement such as bending, lying down and, of course, running. It is your body’s natural gyroscope. If tweaking your diet doesn’t get rid of post-run vertigo, it may be worth a trip to an ear, nose and throat doctor and have the inner ear checked out.

Worst case scenario for post-run dizziness could be a heart condition. If everything else has been ruled out or suggested adjustments have offered no relief, it may be time for a serious cardiac check-up.

The whole purpose of becoming a runner was, most likely, to do something good for your body and your health. So, don’t ignore post-run dizzy spells. Your body is trying to tell you something. Listen.