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Motion Sickness & Treadmills
Treadmills are exercise machines that can help you burn calories, run faster, tone and improve your overall cardiovascular capacity. However, treadmill users can experience motion sickness during or shortly after their workout on the machine. If this has happened to you, you may be tempted to nix treadmill training for good. But before you do that, try some treadmill training tweaks.
On the Belt
When you hit the start button on the treadmill, the belt beneath your feet begins to move and your feet begin to move along with it. Your inner ears sense your movement, but if your brain does not receive any signals of movement from your eyes, then the conflicting messages may result in motion sickness. Reading or watching a television attached to the treadmill can make the motion sickness you experience on the treadmill belt even worse.
Get Better On the Belt
Instead of focusing on reading material, the treadmill itself or an attached media distraction when walking or running on the treadmill, focus on something out in the distance. A treadmill positioned in front of a mirror is particularly helpful because you can actually see yourself moving. If possible, use treadmills that do not have tall vertical extensions that block your line of sight. This way you have a clear view of the happenings and movement around you.
Going from 20 mph to zero may be acceptable when you are approaching a red light in your car, but it can cause motion sickness if you do the same upon completing a treadmill workout. Before you step off the machine, take five minutes to properly cooldown. Gradually reduce your speed so that your body can more easily acclimate to a halted stance off the treadmill.
Drink plenty of water while you are working out to prevent dizziness caused by dehydration and remember to workout according to your current fitness level. If you continue to feel motion sickness after taking these things into consideration, see your doctor to make sure your condition does not stem from low blood sugar, poor nutrition, a heart condition or any other underlying medical concern.
Explore In Depth
- US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Motion Sickness
- ACE Fitness: 5 Cardio Dos and Don'ts
- MacDonald JR. Potential causes, mechanisms, and implications of post exercise hypotension. J Hum Hypertens. 2002;16(4):225-36. doi:10.1038/sj/jhh/1001377
- MedlinePlus. Dizziness. Updated May 13, 2019.
Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."