Orthostatic Hypotension while Exercising

Factors such as high temperatures or sudden movements can produce harmful effects on the body. Orthostatic hypotension is one of these. Do you know what it is? If not, keep reading to learn more about it here.
Orthostatic Hypotension while Exercising

Last update: 03 September, 2019

Low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension can be a problem when we want to exercise. It occurs when we make sudden movements or when the body changes position too abruptly. We’ll tell you everything you need to know here.

What do you need to know about orthostatic hypotension?

Normal blood pressure revolves around 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. Values ​​below these are considered hypotension and may be caused by different factors. In the case of orthostatic hypotension, it’s caused by a very sharp change in body position, mainly the head.

Hypotension can be a problem when exercising; sometimes, it can stop us in our tracks and keep us from working out for a while. You should keep in mind that, when symptoms appear, they’re likely to remain for about 12 hours, or possibly even throughout the whole day.

Also known as postural hypotension, it occurs, for example, when we stand up too quickly, or when we lower our head and raise it too fast. The dizziness may be mild and may only last a few minutes, or it may extend for a longer time, making you experience lightheadedness, ringing in the ears, or blurred vision.

Orthostatic hypotension occurs more often in people suffering from low blood pressure, and it’s made worse by exercise or high temperatures. The main sign is dizziness, although you may also experience tachycardia, blurred vision, shortness of breath, fainting, and even problems understanding what people are saying.

Can I exercise if I suffer from orthostatic hypotension?

If you’ve been diagnosed with orthostatic hypotension, you’ll have to take certain precautions in order to avoid experiencing any symptoms throughout your workout routine at the gym, at home, or in the park:

1. The warm-up

Warming-up is extremely important so that your body begins to feel the strain little by little; it’ll help increase the blood supply to all your muscles, and also avoid injury.

Do you have orthostatic hypotension?

2. Hydrate continuously

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water, because that means that you’re already dehydrated. Not replenishing the fluids that you’ve lost during your exercise is one of the leading causes of hypotension.

3. Orthostatic hypotension: start with easier exercises

No matter what physical activity you do, if you have orthostatic hypotension, we recommend that, after warming-up, start your first exercises slowly and calmly. If you start doing burpees without warming-up, which require a lot of body position changes, you’re more likely to lower your pressure.

4. Avoid exercising if it’s hot

High temperatures are one of the main enemies of hypotension. Therefore, you must take certain precautions and not train during the midday hours in the middle of summer. It’s better to get your workout out of the way in the morning.

Also, we don’t recommend running at night because it can complicate your sleep schedule. Nonetheless, this may be an option if you don’t go to bed too early.

5. Lift your legs after training: avoid orthostatic hypotension

Taking this measure is handy when we have orthostatic hypotension, and it also helps us avoid it. When you’re done training, lie on your back on a mat and raise your legs so that the blood can recirculate.

6. Don’t consume a lot of sugar

Blood glucose isn’t good if we want to train, let alone if we suffer from orthostatic hypotension. When a glycemic downturn occurs, the blood supply to the brain decreases, and this causes dizziness and lack of energy.

7. Prevent orthostatic hypotension: don’t train with a full stomach

After eating, exercising isn’t recommended. This, as they say, “cuts digestion,” but its also because the blood is located mostly in the stomach. If you don’t want to train on an empty stomach, at least feed yourself lightly.

Orthostatic hypotension on an empty stomach

8. Consult a doctor

Only a professional can tell you why you suffer from orthostatic hypotension. Perhaps it’s due to endocrine disease, nervous system disorders, or alterations at a cardiac level. If there’s a history of low pressure in your family, you should most certainly consult a doctor.

In short, orthostatic hypotension isn’t a severe health problem, and best of all, it has a solution. Sometimes some doctors even recommend that their patients perform certain exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling, or Pilates if they’re prone to low blood pressure.

You can choose mild and quiet activities or routines that don’t worsen the whole picture. By doing this, you can avoid experiencing that annoying dizziness!

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