Are you familiar with the signs of low blood pressure when cycling? While the goal is to have low blood pressure, having too low of blood pressure can cause mild to serious complications. What is low blood pressure? Low blood pressure is a systolic reading of less than 90mmHg. The systolic reading is the amount of pressure in your vessels as the heart contracts to pump blood around the body. When your blood pressure goes below 90mmHg, you must also have symptoms for it to be called low blood pressure. Some people can function quite well with a blood pressure reading below 90mmHg.
Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
What are the symptoms of low blood pressure? The symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, sweating, confusion, fainting and seizures to name a few. Some of the events that can cause a bout of low blood pressure include dehydration, overheating, standing for a long time, exercising, and some medications.
Low Blood Pressure While Exercising
Why would low blood pressure occur during exercising? While cycling is considered one of the safer sports for a person with low blood pressure to do, there is still concerns with exercising. One of the reasons that low blood pressure can occur when exercising is because when you stand up, the blood in your body pools in your lower body and needs to be pushed back up to the upper portion of your body. With lower blood pressure, the message doesn’t get sent correctly to get the blood back up. As a result, you can develop symptoms of lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. When cycling or doing another type of exercise, the muscles need more blood and oxygen that they aren’t getting.
Importance of Exercise with Low Blood Pressure
Even though there are concerns with exercising with low blood pressure, exercise is good for you. Through exercise, you can increase your body’s ability to circulate blood. In addition, by having strong calf muscles, the blood can be pushed easier to the upper portion of your body. When you have low blood pressure, you should avoid changing positions rapidly. Luckily, the need to change positions frequently while cycling is not a huge issue. Again, exercises such as cycling, swimming, rowing, and walking are great for people with low blood pressure. However, if you are cycling, you need to avoid vigorous exercise as this can bring about symptoms as well. When beginning an exercise routine, you should start out slow and build up to faster speeds.
Steps to Take When Cycling
If you are cycling and feel the symptoms of low blood pressure beginning, you need to lie down and elevate your legs. If you are not able to lay down, another option to do is to sit or squat down. The last option to do when you are cycling is to stand with your thighs crossed. With your thighs crossed, you need to clench your buttocks, hold your stomach muscles in, and clench your fists. All these options should allow the blood to return to your heart quicker so that more blood can be circulated around your body.
Prevent Low Blood Pressure When Cycling
To prevent repeated occurrences of low blood pressure when cycling, you should wear compression stockings to help return the blood from your feet and lower legs to your heart. Another way to prevent low blood pressure from occurring while cycling is to increase your salt intake. However, if you are salt sensitive, discuss your concerns with your doctor. The last prevention method is to drink plenty of water. In addition, you should drink two glasses of water prior to beginning your bicycle ride.
If you suffer from low blood or have a bout of low blood pressure when cycling, it can still be safe to cycle. However, you need to know the signs and symptoms and what to do if an episode should occur.