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Question
Posted by: Janine | 2008/09/02

Light Headed

Hi Doc, I have been training for quite a few years now. I train about 6 days a week but lately when i train, after 20 minutes or so i start feeling very shaky, light headed and disorientated. I need to know if this is because i need to eat a bit more or maybe because my diet is lacking something? I am also currenty under stress so maybe this could be a factor and if so what can i do to relax before i work out? This is frustrating and I want to get things back to normal. Thanks

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Our expert says:
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Hi Janine

Blood pressure perhaps, or a change in diet. It's always difficult to know when a symptom suddenly appears because something must be different now compared to the last few years. That is often diet - you'll be able to do the detective work and figure it out. You may be onto it when you say you're stressed out through work, and maybe the combination of stress, work and a change in your daily routine has affected your diet? The key is to get energy in before you train, and to do so about 60 minutes before, not immediately. So if you train at 5pm, eat by 4pm, and make it a decent meal. obviously, that one meal is important, but it's not all you shoudl focus on - your whole diet needs to be good too.

So that is the first option. Blood pressure is another one and the stress can be a contributing factor there. You might look at your diet here - low sodium intake (salt) can cause BP to drop, though not really acutely. Might be that your stress and busy worklife is just affecting your body and how it regulates the blood pressure. That's something that can be treated with medication, but you don't want to leap into that, it's better to control the source of the problem, and not the symptom. And it seems the source is the stress, so you need to get to grips with that. Far be it from me to suggest how that is done, I will say that often it's a decision to not allow those stresses to become overwhelming and begin to prioritize the other aspects of life. Like exercise, which you will be able to do without having to squeeze into your day. I think that might be the thing affecting it all, by virtue of the knock-on effect it has on diet and energy levels.

Good luck

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