OMTOM Medical Newsflash: Post-exercise dizziness or collapse – what it is and how to avoid it on Race Day
What is post-exercise postural hypotension?
Post-exercise postural hypotension causes dizziness and collapse or fainting immediately after stopping exercise. As you slow down or stop suddenly, the regular rhythmic muscle contractions of your calf muscles during running no longer assist with returning blood back to your heart. In some individuals, this leads to a significant decrease in blood pressure, and this can result in dizziness or even fainting. This is more common on hot, humid days when your blood vessels are more dilated to assist with heat loss. 56km runners are at a higher risk of developing postural hypotension compared with 21km runners.
How common is post-exercise postural hypotension?
Postural hypotension is the most common reason for admission to our medical facilities on race day and accounts for 21% of all medical complaints we treat. Postural hypotension occurs in 1 out of every 571 runners starting the Two Oceans races.
Tips to avoid post-exercise postural hypotension
The easiest way to avoid post-exercise postural hypotension is not to stop suddenly when you cross the finish line. Rather slow down your pace and keep walking for a few hundred meters after crossing the finish line. This allows your body to gradually “adjust” to the reduced blood flow to the heart.
Remember: this can be more common on hot days, so stay hydrated.
This newsflash was brought to you by the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon Medical Team. Please watch your Inbox for regular medical newsflashes.