Dizzy, nauseous couch potato needs help


By Donovan Grant

Sunday, July 20, 2014

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Dear Donovan,

I finally decided to quit being a couch potato and get fit. This took a lot of mental preparation and I consulted with a personal trainer and was ready to get started. However, after doing jumping jacks for one minute, squats for another minute and then lunges, I began feeling dizzy and nauseous coupled with my mouth being dry. I had to sit for a while and consume a bottle of water to feel better. I eventually bounced back in the same session and got going again, only to feel my chest tightening and I'm not asthmatic. To be honest I did not have breakfast before I went to the workout session, but the trainer told me I may be hyperglycaemic and need to have breakfast. as exercising without food should not have caused me to feel dizzy, faint, nauseous or even have a dry feeling in my mouth. Is this true and could it be a case where I'm too sick to exercise?

I'm so happy you have decided to no longer be a couch potato but to do exercise and get fit and healthy. However, I was very disappointed to hear that your exercise programme went into problems on the first day. These problems could have been caused by a number of factors. I wish you had given me some more information about your weight and your eating habits. How long has it been since you engaged in regular exercise? What is also good for persons who have just started exercise programmes, is to check with their health provider. This could ensure that there are no underlying medical issues before starting an exercise programme.

In some cases dizziness during exercising can be caused by underlying medical problems or some medications, for example, blood pressure medications. Heart diseases and problems of the inner ear can also lead to dizziness, but I would still like you to press on with your exercise programme. Regular physical activity or exercise promotes good circulation of blood in the body. This can improve the cardiovascular system and boost energy. In addition, exercise will promote the release of feel-good hormones into the bloodstream.

Feeling dizzy and nauseated as part of exercising could be the body's way of telling you that it is being pushed too hard. A body that is not fully nourished or hydrated cannot be pushed too hard. Energywise, the body converts carbohydrates through the process of digestion to sugar (mainly glucose), which enters the bloodstream. Excess sugar is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. This can be reconverted to sugars during exercise if necessary. The body uses sugar in the form of glucose to fuel most of its functions including exercise. If you don't get enough to eat the body will not have enough glucose and this condition is called hyperglycaemia. This is a common condition in diabetics. If you exercise in the morning without eating breakfast the sugar level could be low, resulting in dizziness and nausea. Eating one to two hours before exercising and making sure the body is fully hydrated before and after exercising is very important.

When the body does not have enough water it can't function properly. Dehydration can lead to dizziness and a dry, sticky mouth as well as an increase in blood pressure. Exercising in hot humid conditions can also lead to dehydration. Drinking electrolysed enhanced water like coconut water can help to prevent one feeling dizzy and also getting dry mouth. In addition, dizziness at the start of an exercise programme may be tied to an improper breathing technique. In this case breathing may be too shallow or too rapid and this can lead to dizziness or feeling faint. However, if you feel dizzy during exercise you should stop because dizziness can cause you to fall. I would personally want you to continue with your exercise programme but I would like you to check and make sure you have no underlying medical problems. Also, try and eat one to two hours before exercising. It is also important to make sure you are properly hydrated before and during your exercise programme. Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, Suite 16, 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5. Send your questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.




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