Feeling lightheaded after a workout is a normal phenomenon. A sudden stop after running can cause dizziness because of the sudden drop in blood pressure.
#1 Suddenly Stopping
When we run, our blood vessels dilate and our heart pumps faster to meet the oxygen demands of running. This is such that Oxygen can be quickly transported to the muscles that demands it. The stronger pump serves to assist with the venous blood flow.
But,a sudden stop in running, your heart loses this pumping assistance. However, your blood vessels remain dilated. This causes blood to pool in your extremities, hence causing your blood pressure to drop significantly. This drop leads to you getting dizzy!
Running a race differs from a standard training run. You push harder and run a faster pace as compared to a training run. This leads to a higher heart rate and more sweating, which means losing more fluids. We also don’t rehydrate as well as we blaze pass water stations. This loss of fluids causes a lower blood volume which means low blood pressure.
Photo Credits: BBC
So, instead of just stopping and plopping down at the finish line, here’s what you should do instead to prevent you from feeling dizzy for what could be a whole 20 minutes.
#1 Just Keep Moving
Keep moving even after you’ve crossed the finish line. Just walk up down or walk in place. Take deep breaths and keep moving for at least a couple of minutes. You can shake your legs out. You can clench your fists to help contract your upper body muscles.
#2 Hydrate Yourself
Doesn’t a nice 100plus or gatorade at the finish line sound so good? Remember to always rehydrate yourself! Pick up that can of 100plus or water and start drinking up. You need to replace your loss fluids and electrolytes. This also helps return your blood volume and hence your blood pressure.
#3 Wear Compression Socks
Photo Credits: Top Stretch
Another option is to wear compression socks. Compression socks help return your blood to you heart. This assists in blood flow and circulation, hence decreasing the likelihood of dizziness happening.
After a fast and furious race, plenty of us give the cool down a miss. We sit around, catching up with friends, and talking about our run. This is not wise. It is always wise to cool down. This is to give your body time to return to normal. Cooling down allows for your heart rate to gradually return to normal.
But should you start to feel dizzy after a run, lie down and elevate your feet on a bench or chair. This will assist blood to flow back to your heart!