As a personal Trainer, my job is to help clients reach their fitness goals safely and effectively. That being said, trainers encounter new health concerns every day and must always be mindful of a clients health when designing new workouts.
Recently I had a client who felt light headed and dizzy while performing an exercise that involved a sudden postural change movement from a bent over position to a standing position. The reason? It turned out She was suffering from low blood pressure also known as “Hypotension” not to be confused with “Hypertension” which is when you have high blood pressure.
Here’s the thing, Blood pressure is a measure of force in which the blood moves through our arteries. A healthy blood pressure would be around 120/80 whereas a Low blood pressure would be 90/60 or less which was the issue with my client.
Although some people with low blood pressure may not have any symptoms, others may experience: dizziness, weakness, nausea, confusion, blurry vision, shortness of breath, fainting and even blacking out. When a person with low blood pressure performs sudden postural changes where the head is moving from a high to a low position from below or level with the heart, their blood pressure is at a point where it isn’t high or strong enough to return adequate blood to the brain which can cause these low blood pressure symptoms to occur.
The good news? Low blood pressure can be managed with a healthy diet, regular exercise (avoiding sudden bend forward movements) and by drinking plenty of water.
Be certain that you are working out properly with low blood pressure by following these simple exercise modifications:
Try performing push ups with your upper body elevated by placing your hands on the 3rd or 4th step of your staircase (chairs, couches and coffe tables make great inclines too), lower your chest toward the step and repeat. This move will keep your head above your heart level which will help with that dizzy feeling. You can Increase the difficulty by opting to use a stability ball or bosu ball instead of the stairs.
Same modifcation as the push ups on an incline. Use the stairs or another sturdy surface to keep your head above your heart. As you performe the mountain climbers, make sure that you exhale as your draw your knee towards your chest and inhale as you send your leg straight back to it’s starting position. Control of your breath will not only help you to control and focus on your movement but it will also help you to manage symptoms from low blood pressur.
Instead of a bent over row for a back strengthening exercise, try a standing row. Grab a resistance band and wrap it around somthing sturdy, like a banister, and perform a standing upright row. (Remember to keep your shoulders away from your ears, and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end of the pull movement )
Similar to the Standing back row, Instead of a bent over tricep kickback, try using a resistance band to perform an overhead tricep extension.
Say bye bye to those floor planks, Instead, try planking with with your hands or forearms on a coffee table. chair, couch. For an added challenge try using a stability ball. The stability ball is my personal favourite, not only will you avoid that dizzy low blood pressure symptom but you’ll also be using more of your stabilizer muscles by trying to keep that pesky ball from rolling away as you plank, pretty great right?
Ive seen first hand how truly frustrating working out with low blood pressure can be but with a few exercise modifications it is possible to reach your fitness goals safely and effectively.
Motive 8 Personal Trainer
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