Exercising with Vertigo

  • By Dizzy & Vertigo Institute
  • February 28, 2022

Exercising with vertigo is challenging. Some dizzy patients can’t get through a full workout without getting dizzy. Others struggle to stay active because they live in fear of a vertigo attack during a workout. But nobody wants their dizzy symptoms to prevent them from staying healthy and risking snowballing into other health problems.

What’s the best way to exercise with vertigo?

Exercising with Vertigo

Frequent dizzy spells can cause dizzy patients to withdraw socially and physically. We avoid the things we like to do because of our symptoms. Exercise is one of the first activities dizzy patients withdraw from.

Those who find exercise to trigger their dizzy symptoms are most frequently afflicted by BPPV. While other balance disorders may also be prone to exercise-induced dizziness, with BPPV it’s the constant change in head positions that will trigger dizziness.

This is why dizzy patients often say that yoga, swimming, weightlifting, and even jogging are workouts they avoid altogether.

Treatment for BPPV will alleviate positionally provoked vertigo allowing for a return to physical activities involving head movements. Realistically, even if you experience other inner ear dizziness often, you can do most exercises. But it’s HOW you do them that needs to change.

When determining what exercises are best to minimize the chance of a vertigo attack, you’ll want to prioritize these things:

  1. Start with low intensity – keep your workouts low-stress, while still challenging enough to work up a sweat.
  2. Avoid rapid head movements and find a focal point (a spot on the floor, tape on the floor, or a constant reference point)
  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.

If you’re cautious about exercising with dizziness, popular options include tai-chi, walking or strength training. Gradually increasing the activities you can do, while minimizing the increase of symptoms will allow for continued movement. 

While you can alter your workouts temporarily with the above changes in mind, it should include concurrent vestibular rehabilitation therapy so you can get back to the physical activities you like to do most.

Ultimately, avoidance is not the best way to live life with dizziness. And avoiding exercise because you’re fearful of a dizziness episode will only lead to more problems over time.

The Dizzy & Vertigo Institute specializes in treating sources of dizziness and balance disorders. You can learn about our treatment process and why it’s right for you here.

If you or someone you know struggles with dizziness, then please reach out to us at (310) 683-4679 or by filling in our contact form.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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