How to Not Get Dizzy
"HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM GETTING DIZZY WHEN YOU SPIN?"
I get asked this question almost daily because most aerialists struggle with this at some point in their training. Here are a few of my tips and tricks to help prevent dizziness during training and remedies if you happen to find yourself suffering from a little too much spin. Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or medical doctor. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements or making dietary changes. I'm simply recommending things that I know have worked for me and I hope some of them might work for you too!
Take yo' vitamins! A deficiency of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 have all been linked to either cause dizziness/vertigo.
When your body is dehydrated--you get dizzy! I drink at least half my body weight in ounces of water every single day. YES. You read that right. I weigh approx. 140-150 lbs. depending on how many tacos I have eaten (LOL), so that means I drink AT LEAST 75oz. of water every single day. Most days it's over 100 oz. Yes, I pee a lot. But! I don't get dizzy. I have learned that drinking water out of a big cup with a straw helps me with my daily water intake. If I have to unscrew a cap or flip a lid you can just forget about it. In fact, this is the exact adult sippy cup that I use all day long. Fill this thing up 4 times in the day and I'm good to go! In addition to consuming enough water--make sure some of that water has a good source of electrolytes.
Lack of good sleep (or enough of it) = brain fog = fatigue = a plethora of other health problems = dizziness. Get yourself in a good sleep routine! I use to sleep like crap and I have a pretty bomb routine now that makes me feel alive the next day (and guess what?...I never get dizzy).
DON'T TRY TO SLAY YOUR SLING ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
You know how your momma use to say you couldn't go swimming until 30 minutes after you ate so your food could digest? There's kind of a reason for that. When the food you eat is digested it provides your body with blood sugar. When your blood sugar is low your brain is starved of glucose, which it needs to function. If the brain doesn't have glucose you can become lightheaded pretty easily. Compound that with spinning in circles and you have a recipe for disaster. Make sure you are eating good food and often, and always have snacks ready to go in your training bag!
WATCH FOR CAFFEINE OVERLOAD
Are you the kind of dancer that drinks a giant cup of coffee on the way into the studio? Maybe you're the type that chugs pre-workout or energy drinks? Especially if you're drinking them on an empty stomach, caffeine-loaded beverages can definitely cause you to feel extra sensitive to spinning--some people more than others. Your caffeine intake is something to pay attention to the next time you train!
Expose yourself to spinning/motion in short intervals of time. Don't try to do a super spinny flow for an hour if you know you can't hold up to it. Every time you train, spend a few minutes doing a little spin here and there. Work your way up to lengthier spin flows. Add on a few more minutes into your training as your symptoms lessen and your body adapts.
DON'T SPOT LIKE A DANCER
This is probably the most solid piece of advice I can give you when it comes to spin technique: DO NOT. I repeat, DO NOT, spot one point in the room while you spin. So where do you spot? Look at your hands or at the top of the rigging point that you're suspended from. Whatever you are looking at it should be a stationary or "fixed" point. The world will be moving around it, but your eyes will be glued to that one point. Also, be conscious of your neck/head. It's easy to give yourself whiplash if you're not careful. We can create a lot of momentum with just a couple pushes off the ground. I once blacked out during a performance because I sat up quickly in a salto wrap and brought my head forward. The inertia of my neck slinging forward caused the blackout for about 20-30 seconds and then I felt really nauseous and dizzy the rest of the night. This can happen on a micro level when you train so be conscious of how you are flinging your head around from move to move.
MOTHER NATURE ALWAYS WINS
It's an unfortunate truth that every single month, during "that time" I am more sensitive to spinning than usual. If you track your cycle, you can predict those times of the month where maybe you avoid spinning or just do less of it. Some things just aren't worth it, you know what I mean? I also notice during this time of the month my skin is ultra hurty and things that are wrappy on my body are not so fun. Pay attention to your body and try to time your training according to your cycle so you get maximum efficiency and minimal dizziness.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, THERE'S ALWAYS DRAMAMINE
I'm a fan of natural preventative medicine and will always try that first, but sometimes Dramamine does the trick. If you're unfamiliar, Dramamine is an over-the-counter medicine for motion sickness. In the past when I was more sensitive to spinning, I would take it 30 minutes before training and it significantly reduced my symptoms. If you don't want to take a pill of any sort, you could also try the motion sickness bands that are typically used before traveling. I have never used one for aerial so I can't attest to their effectiveness, but I have used it for a boat ride before and it worked pretty well!
REMEDIES & RECOVERY
If you're just here looking for remedies for AFTER you have spun your brains out and not necessarily preventative measures as listed above, try one or all of these things:
Keep your head as still as possible and upright
Apply an ice pack to the upper neck in between your ears (I always have these instant ice packs ready in the studio).
Breathe through your nose and into your belly
Use ginger or peppermint essential oil on pressure points for dizziness (if you're not allergic of course).
UNDERLYING MEDICAL ISSUES
If you have tried all of the above suggestions and then some, perhaps there is something more underlying that is causing your dizziness. Side effects to prescription drugs, Vertigo, ear/tubular disorders, etc. could be causing or adding to your dizziness when you train and no amount of desensitizing will ever make it go away. Check it out with your doctor if you think there might be something more underlying that is causing your spin intolerance!
I hope these tips and tricks help you find your flow. Keep slingin' (and spinning) Queens,