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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My trainer has been working me really hard lately and I actually fainted after a lesson a couple of months ago. Since then she's been working me even harder and I nearly passed out again yesterday. We started out just walking and trotting and slowly increasing the length of time that I would trot without a break. Fast forward 6 months and now I’m trotting and cantering for nearly 25 minutes out of a 30 minute lesson.

I feel like I can’t get enough air in my lungs and then I get stitches. Plus I noticed that since it’s gotten colder, my lungs hurt more. When the lesson is finally over I walk around on a loose rein for about 5 to 10 minutes. That’s when I noticed that I suddenly feel sick, light headed, and I can’t seem to slow down my breath. Then I start to see spots.

My instructor always tells me that I shouldn’t be out of breath. She has caught me holding my breath a few times, which I didn’t realize I was doing. So I wonder if that has something to do with it? This is so frustrating and embarrassing. What makes it worse is that she is 63 and I’m 37! The woman can run circles around me and I just get dizzy watching her!

I recently had a complete physical for insurance purposes and got a score of 100 out of 100 so I consider myself pretty healthy. I sit at a desk all day but do work out in the evenings. My blood-pressure is on the low side of normal 98/55. I’ve had trouble with fainting spells when I lived in Colorado at 10,000 feet. I had a stress test back then and the cardiologist said that my heart does occasionally skip a beat but it’s nothing to worry about (idiopathic tachycardia). My primary doctor said it was just altitude sickness and nothing to worry about. I live at a lower elevation now so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Am I just out of shape? Or could it be something else? I’ve been working out harder and harder at home on my elliptical trainer. I also do different workout videos to keep it interesting. Sometimes I don’t feel like doing a heavy workout so I’ll just go for a 45 minute brisk walk instead.

Any ideas?
 

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I have similar issues but I have what doctors have called exercise-induced asthma. Would something like this be possible?
 

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What does your daily diet consist of? How many calories are you eating? How long and how hard are you workouts when you workout at home (are you pushing your cardio to the maximum or are they relatively light workouts)? I know you mentioned some of the workouts you do but more information would be great.

I ask about your diet because it sounds to me like your blood glucose levels are low. When your blood glucose levels are low you become very susceptible to passing out. And if you're working out really hard and not getting enough calories everyday to replace the ones you've lost your body will start to eat itself and your blood glucose levels will drop dangerously low.

Oh, and regarding low blood sugar (glucose), did the physical you took test for hypoglycemia?

Or, as Amp said, there is always the potential of asthma. Thanks Amp, I didn't even think of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My fasting glucose was 77. Here is what I eat before I ride:

2 multigrain blueberry waffles with 1 tablespoon of almond butter. Once cup of green tea without sugar. Total calories: 270. Total sugar grams: about 12.

On my way to the lesson, I drink about 8 to 16 ounces of water.
 

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I don't know much about diets and how different things affect the body, so that's why my only thought was asthma. Either way, I know how frustrating loss of breath and dizziness can be and I hope you can figure out what's wrong and fix it!
 

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Think of an endurance rider who trots/lopes for hours on a 50 mile race. They aren't fainting. Or out of breath.

Something doesn't sound right. When you were in for your physical, did you mention this issue you were having?

I'd be digging a little deeper to find out what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The physical was for insurance purposes so I tried to paint as positive of a picture as possible ;) but according to the bloodwork, measurements and vital signs I'm in excellent shape. I later mentioned the fainting issue to my primary care and she said that some people are just more prone to fainting.
 

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Drink plenty of water, eat a carb packed meal before you go and ride (like a few hrs before) and after. It's a work out, and holding your breath is never a good idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sample weekly excercise routine:

Monday - 45 minute walk
Tuesday - 75 crunches, 40 leg lifts & 50 second plank
Wednesday - 35 minutes on elyptical trainer at setting 9
Thursday - 80 crunches, 40 leg lifts & 55 second plank plus 25 minutes on elyptical trainer at setting 5
Friday - 27 minute kettle bell work-out video
Saturday - 45 minute walk plus 25 minutes on elyptical at setting 5
Sunday - riding lesson
 

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I'm another one with exercise-induced asthma. It does sound like a possibility but it would also affect your workouts. It also sounds like you could just be holding your breath.

Do you do any hard cardio? It looks like you have a good workout program going but I don't see anything that really gets your heart rate up and keeps it up.

EIA and just being out of shape can be difficult to tell apart. Coughing, wheezing, and a runny nose are also some symptoms of EIA.
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Your body isn't expelling the carbon dioxide. When you exhale purse your lips and exhale thro them. This changes the pressure in your lungs and is a benefit. If you're pooped after 25 min the horse must be worn out as well. You are paying for the lessons and she wants your money so you decide when and how long a walking break you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your body isn't expelling the carbon dioxide. When you exhale purse your lips and exhale thro them. This changes the pressure in your lungs and is a benefit. If you're pooped after 25 min the horse must be worn out as well. You are paying for the lessons and she wants your money so you decide when and how long a walking break you need.
Good point. She did mention that I don't breath properly (not breath deeply enough) and I do sometimes hold my breath and don't even realize it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm another one with exercise-induced asthma. It does sound like a possibility but it would also affect your workouts. It also sounds like you could just be holding your breath.

Do you do any hard cardio? It looks like you have a good workout program going but I don't see anything that really gets your heart rate up and keeps it up.

EIA and just being out of shape can be difficult to tell apart. Coughing, wheezing, and a runny nose are also some symptoms of EIA.
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I did take a claritin to combat the runny nose, so maybe it's EIA after all. Regarding getting heart rate up - I switch back and forth between cardio zone and fat burning zone. So one day I'll do cardio and the next fat burning zone.
 

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I was going to say it sounds like asthma to me... Or maybe you just need to work out more/harder? xD That's my answer for everything...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was going to say it sounds like asthma to me... Or maybe you just need to work out more/harder? xD That's my answer for everything...
Ha, ha - yeah I will try that. I might join a local boot camp group; maybe having someone yell at me will motivate me to work out harder!
 

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Here's my symptoms for EIA:

- feels like something is smothering my lungs. Ever go swimming in a pool and felt that heavy chest feeling after? Or maybe had someone sit on you? Feels like that.
- feels like my airways are just not big enough, like trying to breathe through a straw
- runny nose
- non-productive cough
- occasional wheezing

I can only exert myself for a minute or so before I feel it, can push through 2.5 mins then need to rest for 1.5. Rest no longer means full stop - I can just slow down. When I was first diagnosed I could only work for about 20 seconds and had to full stop for 5 mins.

With an inhaler those windows are larger. If I exercise and keep myself just below wheezing, it actually helps to strength train my lungs so I can increase their efficiency and keep the asthma at bay a little longer and recover a little faster.

I chose EIA as my fitness focus for my college fitness requirement and did some mild self experimenting based on research and found:

- hydration levels are important! Dehydration contributes to the effects and severity of the asthma. I noticed a positive difference within 2 days of upping my water.
- breathing through your nose. Your nose warms and humidifies the air whereas breathing through your moth does not. Warm, humid air is better for us than cold, dry air.
- find the point at where you start to feel your symptoms and do your cardio just below that level.
- when wheezing, stand up straight, mouth to the sky and breathe deeply and slowly through your nose. Don't hunch over!
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The fainting is most likely caused by a drop in your blood pressure. It can be brought on by exertion/heavy work. Since your resting BP is already low, and then you don't breathe how you should be...Its a nasty combination.

The blood in your body isn't sending enough to your brain. Perhaps if you are in a 2-point for 20 minutes, the blood is not flowing how it should be due to muscles flexed. Then when you sit back down and release your legs (the blood swooshes down into your legs and causes a lightheaded feeling)

Now, this ^^^ HAS happened to me before working out. Sitting is a chair position on a wall for 5 Minutes. When you finally release your legs, I can feel the blood returning to my legs and will have a "fuzzy" brain moment for a few minutes until my head is clear. Never to the point of fainting thought.

When you start to feel dizzy,you need to elevate your feet. (Impossible to do on a horse I know...)

If you are otherwise healthy...There may not be much you can do for it. Do you ever have problems outside of horseback riding? Like dizziness getting out of bed?

Did you bring this up in your physical?

Understanding Fainting -- the Basics
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Take a 2 minitue walk break in the middle. Do not push yourself until you pass out! Talk to your doctor. Other option is take a couple of jelly beans etc along and munch them on your walk break.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow that's all great information.

I think it might be a combination of multiple things that you've all suggested.

If I do floor excercises and get up too fast, I get light headed - probably due to low BP.

My lungs will actually ache from breathing the cold air/breathing a large amount of air too fast - probably a touch of EIA.

I do get the shakes in between meals if I don't eat right so I keep a pretty strickt diet - I might just need to increase my calories at breakfast time to help me get through my Sunday morning riding lesson.
 

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Also, did you get your blood drawn? Was your hemoglobin in normal limits? One of the possible problems could be anemia. Do you eat enough protein and get enough iron? Its EXTREMELY important in the diet.
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