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Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

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Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby madeintahoe » Tue May 29, 2012 11:17 pm

I recently started riding a bike after probably not being on a bike since I was a teenager...trying to get my body back into shape after a few years of not being in the best of shape that I use to be in. I have always been prone to getting motion sickness from either being a passenger in a car or on a airplane...so not sure that has something to do with why after I get done with my bike ride I feel lightheaded and dizzy like. I feel totally fine while on my ride..it is when I get off the bike go inside the house..I start feeling it..it has happen two days in a row going the same way and each time and towards dusk time...this ride is very short maybe 15 minutes and a few hills where since I am not use to that kind of workout..my thighs were screaming! Going back I have those little down hills where the wind is in my face and I feel the force of going down hill against my body...so not sure that is making me feel dizzy after I am done..this ride is all on paved roads

What is odd..I have went a longer distance about 45 minutes to a totally different area and on packed gravel..have done this ride now 4 times and in the middle of the day..I get back and I feel normal..no dizzy feeling at all.
So just curious if anyone has ever felt dizzy/lightheaded after riding a bike and if anyone knows what could be causing this?
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed May 30, 2012 12:14 am

Low blood glucose levels? Just a guess. The length of the ride hypthetically has less to do with blood glucose levels after a ride than the intensity of the ride. If you ride intesesly enough to be working at an aneorbic level you can quickly use up your blood glucose and stored glycogen. If you ride longer, but stay aerobic, you will be burning more fat than glycogen/glucose. I took cell biology and physiology in college over 20 years ago, I may be getting that wrong. Maybe Ze will chime in, he will have a much more definitive answer.
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby lcarreau » Wed May 30, 2012 12:53 am

Do you stay hydrated? Is it just during certain times of the day when you're riding your bike ... and feeling dizzy ?

When I worked at Sequoia National Park, I tried riding my bicycle at night. It was okay and pretty cool, until I almost ran into a 500-pound black bear that
was crossing the road at the same time I was zooming past.

If you develop a strict routine, your body should conform to what you're doing. Just don't overdo it like I did, and keep alert for wildlife.

:shock:
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby Sarah Simon » Wed May 30, 2012 4:16 am

I have chronic low blood pressure, as well as as Hypostatic low blood pressure (aka blood pressure that changes drastically when my posture changes - in other words, when I stand, I might fall over...). I get very dizzy when exerting myself, esp. if I do not sufficiently hydrate and keep my salt levels up.

Something to consider...

PS: I take Thermotabs 2x daily to keep my blood pressure up to somewhat normal levels.
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby madeintahoe » Wed May 30, 2012 4:19 pm

Excitableboy...Thank you..thats a little worrisome the low blood glucose levels, I hope thats not what is going on. I have done many strenous hikes and have never ever after I stop and rest or even after I get home from a hard hike have felt that same way I did on after the bike ride...I do wonder if it has something to do with when going down hills on very smooth roads with that wind and force in my face is what is doing it..since I am prone to motion sickness.

Hi Larry..Those two times were during dusk time when I got back and felt dizzy/lightheaded...I try to stay hydrated..probably not as much as I should be though..glad you did not hit that poor Bear!

Hi Sarah..Thank you for responding..Interesting about your low blood pressure along with the Hypostatic low blood pressure with it changing when you change your posture..My blood pressure has always been very good. I know how important it is to hydrate while out there and that is something I need to do more of..I do drink..but probably not enough as I should be.

I went on the longer ride yesterday at 7:00 PM dusk time..on the packed gravel road..got back and felt okay...so it's just weird that I do not feel it on this ride and do on the other one with the smooth paved road.
When I go down hill on the smooth paved roads I am going faster and I have more wind hitting my face and body..when I go down hill on the gravel I am going a lot slower less wind hitting my face.

Thank you everyone for responding!
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby lcarreau » Wed May 30, 2012 5:32 pm

Hold on ... there's stuff you can take for motion sickness, but I would be very cautious of the "side-effects" and even the dependency issues.

I know very few people who don't get sick on a roller coaster. What exactly have you been drinking? Does it effect your stomach?

I tend to avoid alcoholic beverages at all times before exercising and riding my bicycle. Most people I have talked to say "Gatorade" is an excellent
beverage to drink along with water and a frosty avocado shake when you get back home ..

Different strokes for different folks, but keep on peddling 'cause that's a great mode of transportation and fantastic workout for the heart.
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby peninsula » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:26 pm

Hi Anita,

Ruling out blood pressure would be a worthwhile effort. The equipment is reasonably priced and a good investment. Take measurements after exercise and on days without exercise, get some baseline data. When/if you experience another episode, take a measurement and compare. And keep up the exercise!

Cheers, Greg
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:54 pm

I'll attempt to analyze a bit without getting very scientific. Hopefully the suggestions I end with won't seem overwhelming to someone just starting to get back into shape. Remember to have fun!

Some observations: It is clear that when first getting back on the bicycle you felt some intense exercise going uphill on the paved roads and felt some motion while going downhill. You then felt dizzy. I'm seeing that you have started to experiment with time of day, but am not sure if diet and hydration have been consistent on different days. I'm not seeing written that you felt intensity going uphill on the gravel roads/I'm not sure if the gravel road has uphill sections that are comparable to the paved road in intensity and at what point in the gravel ride any uphill sections may come. I'm also not seeing that you have tried the paved route again after the initial negative/dizzy experiences.

I, too, just got back into cycling. I usually ride some very intense hills. I felt very dizzy for a brief period on my first ride after climbing several steep hills, but recovered quickly before the ride was over. I trail run and hike in steep terrain often and also do interval training, so I am already in pretty good shape. I have always found running to have a more constant feeling of high intensity, but have also found the forced intensity of climbing a steep hill when cycling to provide a brief spike in intensity that might cause dizziness or an unusual feeling of intensity, especially if I haven't been cycling often. Doing heavy squats or lunges sometimes provides a similar dizzy effect in the minute(s) recovering, rather than while doing a set. I've also seen people pass out after swimming long distances without taking a breath after they stopped swimming, surfaced, and took a breath. Then there was the time I got dizzy from AMS, hiking too fast to above 14,000 feet. Intense feelings/symptoms from oxygen debt, dehydration, and lack of fuel/nutrition all can be somewhat delayed.

I'm guessing the dizziness you felt had to do with intense use of big muscles that weren't used to what you made them do and with a cardiovascular system that you are working on building back up. Maybe the dizziness was delayed by concentrating on riding, the refreshing/cooling wind, and ongoing exercise that suddenly ceased when the ride ended.

You describe your intense paved rides as very short. 15 minutes is a very short overall ride time to do anything intense, as in possibly not enough warm up time and cool down time for the intensity. I'd suggest making sure you are warmed up before taking on intense hills. You might google suggested warm ups; some might suggest things to do before you even get on the bike. You may find the same hills to be no big deal and appropriate for a warm up after more training. The 45 minute mild/moderate intensity (?) rides are more of a normal exercise time. 5-30 minutes of intensity (building up over time) in the middle of a 45-60 minute ride would be good change of pace compared to the easier (?) gravel days mixed in. You could add to the route or do the route 2-4 times as you progress (assuming motion sickness is not the issue).

I'd also suggest taking in some cool fluids during your rides, especially right after intense hills and as your rides increase in length. Consuming a few calories (like with the Gatorade suggestion) becomes important with longer duration and higher intensity with various concentrations/blends of nutrients being better than others for given situations and individuals. You should pay attention to when and what you are eating before, during, and after your rides/exercise to find what works well for you.

You may want to check your pulse before your ride, after the most intense part of a ride, and again after the ride. Make sure you are breathing at a good rate during and after intense parts.

Back to the cool down concept-- don't just come to a dead stop and plop down when finished; cool down slowly. Walking around outside for a bit and stretching after the ride would provide a good cool down. Breathe. Rehydrate and take in a few carbs and some protein after exercise for recovery purposes. All of this is especially important if you felt intensity.

If the dizziness continues with certain routes, at least it sounds like those routes can be avoided...or mild dizziness and/or lessening of it over time, can be a sign of accomplishment. Of course, if you find that you keep having problems with dizziness, especially beyond the specific situation you described, you probably ought to consult a doctor regarding everything mentioned by me and others.

I'm off for a ride myself now. Have fun out there!
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby RayMondo » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:21 pm

As Sean says, the use of the big muscles (quads) when cycling is a load on the cardio vascular system - and bikes are quite a weight too. So the cooldown is important to stop blood pooling in the lower parts of the body, which could result in dizziness. Never a good idea to sit down directly after exertion, anyway.

Boosting the lungs could be helpful. I did Yoga breathing exercises and sure helped. Also do Yoga itself. Whereas, we think of it a just stretching, it has a wide range of benefits (which appear within only a few weeks). Muscle tone and suppleness for some examples. These will all add to the pot of improvement in wellbeing.

If anyone is prone to light headedness as you stand, then take some deep breaths before that. A stable bloodsugar level will help too. So avoid instant sugars. Stick to fruit and not candy or refined sugars. Cereal breakfasts are lousy for biking.

If you wear sunglasses for biking, use good quality lenses - distortion of the field of view could add to motion sickness. Leastways, wear eye protection, as large insects in the eye are hazardous.
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby lcarreau » Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:56 am

RayMondo wrote:
If you wear sunglasses for biking, use good quality lenses - distortion of the field of view could add to motion sickness. Leastways, wear eye protection, as large insects in the eye are hazardous.


Protecting your "field-of-vision" is essential when riding a bicycle. Ha, ha, ... and ... PLEASE don't take the advise of ZZ Top ... at least not this time.

8)

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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby TScott27 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:13 am

Exerting much effort would sometimes make you feel dizzy afterwards. In fact, this happened to me twice right after jogging my favorite trail. Consulted a doctor afterwards but he said that my vitals are normal. I think you just need to do it gradually, try to start out with 10 minutes(or maybe lesser) and see if the same thing happens. If you don't feel dizzy after a 10-minute ride, then maybe you should stick to it for a while and build your way to reaching the 15-minute ride.
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby SeanReedy » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:04 am

TScott27 wrote:Exerting much effort would sometimes make you feel dizzy afterwards. In fact, this happened to me twice right after jogging my favorite trail. Consulted a doctor afterwards but he said that my vitals are normal. I think you just need to do it gradually, try to start out with 10 minutes(or maybe lesser) and see if the same thing happens. If you don't feel dizzy after a 10-minute ride, then maybe you should stick to it for a while and build your way to reaching the 15-minute ride.


I agree with it being unlikely that the dizziness is particularly worrisome/worthy of a doctor/worthy of any special equipment given only the information presented. I also agree with the concept of building up duration and intensity gradually, but the issue seems to be with intensity and duration of intensity rather than duration/endurance at low intensity.

I agree about the importance of wearing sunglasses; and even cheap ones may work fine :wink: . I also agree with RayMondo's other points, especially about the cool-down phase seeming to be key to the issue described. The breathing, stretching, and movements involved in yoga would be good. I almost mentioned eating fruit (like apples) myself.

Not sure what the OP is riding (guessing a basic mountain bike)—I was much dizzier than normal on my road bike today. Observations: I did not do warm up activites, nor bring anything to help cool off once hot. Steep hills began early in the ride. It was warm—mid 80’s with bright/hot mid-day June sun (this also created a lot of visual contrast in partially shaded areas). My tires were inflated toward the higher end of the spectrum (more vibration and bumps felt). I had more than a couple of beers the night before, which is unusual.
My neck, shoulders, and upper back were very tight from weightlifting and child tossing :) previous days—this did not help circulation and relaxation for optimal bloodflow to the head and elsewhere. Also, the possibility of feeling dizzy was fresh in my mind from this thread...bad state of mind :lol:. I felt best on the flats at the very end of the hour long ride.

If motion sickness might be a problem, I’d use the same strategies one would use to avoid motion sickness while in a car—look far ahead on the road/path wearing sunglasses, try to avoid bumpy conditions, try to avoid lots of sudden ups, down, and turns, try to stay cool and comfortable, and try to go into the ride feeling as good as possible (hydrated, fed, rested, energized/warmed-up).
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby madeintahoe » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:08 pm

Thanks Greg...I have been meaning to get a BP machine so I can check it..would be interesting to check it before I go and after I get back.

Thank you all Sean, Ray,Tscott and Larry!..Really appreciate your comments...Sean..I bought myself a new bike..it is what they call a road cruiser..fat tires like you have on a Mountain Bike...but the handle bars are much more up and I am not slumped over as much as a regular Mountain Bike..I am sitting up more. I seem to be getting use to the bike and have not had that dizzy/lightheaded feeling like I did those 1st two days...I tend to think it is not being use to that motion of being on a bike and the going downhills with the force of the wind blowing in my face and body that made me feel that way.

I really appreciate all the great tips and advice...This bike riding is all new to me after so many years of not being on a bike...I am getting more comfortable with riding down on the hills..at 1st I was using my brakes a lot and really going slow..now I feel comfortable on those same hills using the brakes less..I can see where one can really get their legs in shape with just a slight uphill along with a great cardio workout for your heart!

Thank you all so much!
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby lcarreau » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:46 am

I really didn't do anything ... was just trying to put a smile on your face. :o

Funny you should mention a "Road Cruiser." I (recently) got me a Specialized "Cross-trail," and I'm happy with the way it performs ...

goes without saying ... be sure to inspect your brakes (and pads) often to avoid unforeseen accidents .... 8)
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Re: Feeling Dizzy after a Bike Ride

Postby kylenicolls » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:24 pm

On some random occasion 3 years back I was mountain biking (nothing new at this point) up a dirt road to go down some single-track (done it a dozen times prior). Half-way up my right knee just went absolutely on fire on every down-stoke. Probably some nerve shit. I don't know, fuckin hurt. I sucked it up, got to the top by about 75% left left leg power. Went down the single-track pretty easily. After? Never again happened. Same bike, same seat height, etc...

I am not of the opinion it is worth worrying about. No body is perfect. Just because there is a oddity, that doesn't mean there is a problem. Just treat your body good and it will generally be good to you.
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