Developing vertigo at any age isn’t fun, and it can definitely mess with your exercise and fitness goals. Working out with the symptoms of vertigo (lightheadedness, dizziness, spinning) is clearly a recipe for disaster, but there are ways around it so that you can stay on track to hit your targets. All you have to do is adopt a few modifications to ensure you stay safe and comfortable during your workout.
Keep reading to find out exactly what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) during your next workout so that you can have an effective workout while protecting your body from a vertigo spell.
- Keep Head Vertical
The best way to avoid feeling dizzy is to always keep your head vertical during a workout (sorry, divebombers!) and as still as possible. This is definitely easier said than done, since you don’t realize how much you move your head during even the simplest exercise until you try to keep it still. Some exercises you’ll definitely want to avoid (or at least work up to) are bent over rows, burpees, deadlifts, planks, pretty much all mat exercises and any other movements that could trigger the dizziness and spinning.
- Avoid Changing Elevation
Surprisingly, even just raising and lowering yourself a foot or two can offset a vertigo spell, which can be unsafe if you’re not flat on the floor. Exercises like step ups, squats and lunges are repetitive up-and-down movements that can be quite taxing on your vertigo, and you definitely want to avoid throwing your balance off-centre if there’s weights or steps involved, which could injury you if the spinning gets severe. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground or stay seated to help keep you aware of your centre of gravity.
- Avoid Rapid Movement
Moving your head rapidly from side to side or up and down is a sure-fire way to make yourself feel dizzy, so for many people that can mean running on the treadmill, using the elliptical, and rowing can be no-go’s. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your heart racing and torch calories while standing still or moving slowly. You can add more weights, add resistance bands, use a weight vest and more to turn up your heart rate without even changing your workout.
- Focus on Balance and Strength
While hours of cardio might be off the table, your best bet for a solid workout is to focus on balance and strength training. The balance will help you fight the vertigo, and the strength training gives you an effective, fat-torching workout that doesn’t require a ton of movement. Machine circuits are great ways to keep your head stable and upright, but if you’re working out from home (and kudos to that!), think standard weight exercises like chest press, knee raises, and seated or standing moves such as bicep curls, overhead triceps press, dumbbell lateral raises, etc. as well as standing balancing poses to help train your body to fight the symptoms of vertigo. You might feel like you’re kicking it old school with these moves, but they’re effective, manageable, and most importantly, allow you to get in a solid workout without feeling dizzy.No excuses, OK? If you have vertigo, you know you need to take it seriously. If you need support, stop on by (and join) our BodyRocker Insider Group on Facebook. This is where our trainers and other members of our FitFam like you chill, talk shop and get advice on nutrition, exercise and more. However, remember that you can still reap the rewards of exercise and see serious gains — especially if you do the moves you can do with resistance! If you’re looking to load up to make the most of your workouts, get the best deal possible & shop our Spring Break Sale!
If you are suffering from vertigo, see your doctor or refer yourself to physical therapy. There are some simple maneuvers that can help the majority of people with vertigo, and this will get you back to your regular workouts.
I just had my first experience with vertigo it really took the wind out of mr. I was really getting my workouts in and being consistent and seeing awesome results. My spells have subsided but it’s been tough. I still have that weird foggy feeling. Thank u so much for this article.
Great article! I used to have Vertigo and can still experience it under the right circumstances; a cold with congestion, a pressure change from an elevator ride, a flight or a trip to the mountains. Here are my tips:
1) Hydrate! Water is your friend when fighting off Vertigo.
2) Work with your doctor to find the right medication and the MED (Minimum Effective Dose). Sometimes Docs like to just knock you out to minimize symptoms (Valium, anyone?) so find a decongestant that works for you.
3) When exercising, find a Focal Point, a spot on the wall, a piece of tape or something that you can look at and reference.
This can be a life saver when your balance center is telling you that you’re spinning or shifting or falling.
I suffer with vertigo for years…it can be very debilitating. Thanks for such a great article and tips. Also for bringing about awareness…it was a long time before l got a correct diagnosis from a Doctor.