Commonly known as post-swim dizziness, postural hypotension can strike unexpectedly once on dry land – here’s how to stay safe
Have you ever felt disorientated when you exit open water after the swim? Well it happens to us all from time to time. It’s known as postural hypotension – in layman’s terms, dizziness – a common condition among swimmers and triathletes.
When you stand up quickly from a lying position the pressure at the head is low and the pressure at the feet is high, which leads to symptoms of dizziness, light-headedness and nausea. This can take you by surprise, as you’re unlikely to feel the effects until you head towards T1 on race day when you’re powerless to stop the problem affecting your race.
Four Ways To Avoid Dizziness After Swimming
- Hydration. It may seem simple, but proper hydration is crucial if you want to perform at your best. Keep taking in a mixture of water and sports drinks right up to race time, and continue to take on fluids as you go.
- Compression suits. Even blood flow combats postural hypotension, and these suits ensure blood runs evenly through the body. Most tri suits are compression fit, and long-legged swim suits are available too.
- Practise water-to-bike transitions. It’s crucial to be prepared for race day, so make sure you have got your swim-to-bike routine fully practised, whether it’s in open water or in the pool. Make it second nature.
- Breathing techniques. Using techniques such as the Valsalva and Frenzel manoeuvres (see healthline.com) regulate the pressure in your head as you exit the water. Practise them with caution first though.
Find out more about the best way to treat triathlon injuries