Head spins

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Head spins

Postby Becker_11 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:15 am

I suffer a problem common to many middle aged men. A mind that remembers what 20 was like and a body that wont cooperate. So I some times push myself harder or further than I really should but it never causes a problem on the bike it's only when I get home. I should mention here that I'm riding a recumbent trike. When I get home, unclip and stand up I go all light headed and need to grab the rear rack for a moment to steady myself. The worst of it passes in a few moments but I can still feel some of the effects for 10 minutes or so afterwards.

Should I be concerned? I haven't fallen over yet although I came close once and I am getting better at pacing myself instead of making every ride a race. What's your thoughts?
Last edited by Becker_11 on Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:21 am

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Re: Head spins

Postby Becker_11 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:21 am

I've just thought of something I should add. There is an awesome downhill that I ride at full tilt right before turning into my driveway. Never thought of it before but I bomb down there as hard as possible every chance I get. Then I turn into my driveway get off the bike and the head spins start.

Not going to like it if I have to stop sprinting my downhill.
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Re: Head spins

Postby thelittlebattler » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:08 am

That sprint at the end could have something to do with it, especially being on a recumbent. What could be happening is a fall in blood pressure when you stand up, because your legs are demanding more blood and all of a sudden the blood needs to fight gravity to make it up to your head.

Spending at least 5 minutes to warm down is usually recommended at the end of exercise, so if you're working pretty hard on your sprint at the end, just roll around slowly at the bottom of the hill or your driveway until you recover. The other thing you can try is making sure you drink enough on the ride and when you get home, being dehydrated will add to the problem too.

If you're concerned, can always see a doctor about it, or check your blood pressure with a cuff at home if you or someone you know has one.
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Re: Head spins

Postby Sweeper59 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:42 am

I agree with thelittlebattler.

As with most cyclists, your lower body is demanding the majority of your blood and oxygen supply when you ride, while your upper body is fairly sedate.

Because you are lying down on your recumbent bike, with your head almost at the same level as your heart, your body doesn't have to work hard to pump blood to your upper body.

However, when you stand up, your body has to suddenly make the adjustment from pumping lots of oxygen to your leg muscles to working harder to pump blood 'uphill' to your brain.

I think what you are experiencing is 'oxygen deprivation' as your body makes the adjustment.
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Re: Head spins

Postby Becker_11 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:47 am

Thanks Guys, I think I will have to add a bit of a warm down spin to the end of my ride before coming inside. Fortunately my road is a dead end with a pretty good cycle path leading off it so plenty of space for an easy spin. I never come home that way though cause it's flat and where's the fun in that lol
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Re: Head spins

Postby Nate » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:01 am

i get that a fair bit... 31 & crazy fit... swimming, gym, cycling etc...
and its always been the way!

Quickly standing up if i've been on the ground for a bit normally does it. - maybe just great circulation?
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Re: Head spins

Postby maDKient » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:02 am

Nate wrote:i get that a fair bit... 31 & crazy fit... swimming, gym, cycling etc...
and its always been the way!

Quickly standing up if i've been on the ground for a bit normally does it. - maybe just great circulation?


It's called postural hypotension. When you stand or get up too quick from a lying or prone position, or in our case the bikes, the blood doesn't circulate quickly enough to the brain hence you feel the light headedness.
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Re: Head spins

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:30 am

It's been covered here before, do a search for some more in depth discussion.
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Re: Head spins

Postby thelittlebattler » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Becker_11 wrote:Thanks Guys, I think I will have to add a bit of a warm down spin to the end of my ride before coming inside. Fortunately my road is a dead end with a pretty good cycle path leading off it so plenty of space for an easy spin. I never come home that way though cause it's flat and where's the fun in that lol


That's ok, I'd still burn down the hill on the way home... just do a few laps of the dead end, or coast up the bike path and back a little to warm down. Can use the time to suck down the rest of your water bottle too
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Re: Head spins

Postby wombatK » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:20 pm

bigfriendlyvegan wrote:It's been covered here before, do a search for some more in depth discussion.

+1. It sounds like orthostatic hypotension. One factor that contributes to it is getting too dehydrated. Young
people can suffer from it every bit as much as old people. Drink more, and see if that fixes it.
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Re: Head spins

Postby Becker_11 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:24 pm

Thanks guys for your feedback and yeah I know I could drink more than I do both on the trike and off it. Will be getting a hydration bladder for the trike when $$$ allow so that will improve things reaching the bottle while not impossible while riding is bloody difficult. I can't actually see the cage so putting it back especially is a bit hit and miss and means I usually just drink at the lights etc.
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Re: Head spins

Postby open roader » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:47 pm

I have low blood pressure issues from the age of 28 - I'm now 40.

I'd +1 to the upper body going somewhat dormant in a ride, I always 'warm down' for the last 1.5km on a nice even piece of road where I can flex from the waist up and lift my arms off the bars one at a time and move them about to get some normality back in the blood flow dept. I'm also sure to park against the side of the car (I drive my bike over 2km of gravel road before riding) in case i do have a head spin. Since I began doing this warm down I've not had a wobble post dismount.

I'd also +1 hydration, I was a serial bad hydrater until I resumed riding a bike, if I'm not needing to pee slightly during my ride I'm not satisfied with my hydration - inconvenient to take a leak on the side of the road mid ride (rural empty roads by and large :oops: ) but solid pre-ride hydration has really improved my rides, recoveries and life all round.
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Re: Head spins

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:18 am

I think you need a better warm down.. since your bloods pumping to your legs, then your legs stop moving and the blood 'pools' in your feet, there's less blood flow to the brain. An easy 5m minute ride to get your blood flow back to normal (after the downhill sprint!) will probably help.. give it a shot and let us know!
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Re: Head spins

Postby Becker_11 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:11 am

I haven't been riding this week but should be getting out there Friday so I'll take all your advice regarding proper hydration and doing a cool down spin & let you know how I get on.
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Re: Head spins

Postby Becker_11 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:01 am

Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread but I finally went for a ride today and can report that when I take it easy for a few minutes at the end of the ride and wait 30 secs after stopping before pulling myself up off the trike the head spins are greatly reduced. To the point if I wasn't expecting it to happen I may not have noticed the little flutter I did get when I stood up.

I'm very relieved to know it's nothing serious and can be managed so easily. Thanks for all your replies and advice.
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Re: Head spins

Postby open roader » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:27 pm

Becker_11 wrote:the head spins are greatly reduced


Great News!! :)
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