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Niamh asked...

I am 18 years old and recently started a Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) course which includes 5-6 hours per day dancing (ballet,tap,commercial, contemporary etc)and physical fitness sessions (aerobic and muscle strengthening. I am physically very fit and am not experiencing any difficulties with all exercises with the exception of one. As part of the physical fitness sessions I have to face forward on the ground in the 'Plank' position (like a press up but holding the position resting on elbows), usually for a period of 2 mins or more. When I have finished I feel light headed and a little dizzy and have a headache for a few hours following this. What can cause this?

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The Answer

I wonder if you are holding your breath while you perform this ‘plank’ exercise? If you do not continue to breathe normally whilst exercising, it could result in dizziness (due to a reduction in oxygen and a drop in the blood pressure). The actual exercise is used to strengthen the abdominal muscles and the ‘core’ muscles.

If breathing deeply and properly does not help, then I would suggest you do not continue with this exercise, especially if it makes you feel unwell. There are other exercises you can do instead of this one to strengthen these particular muscles.

Answered by Dr Emmajane Down.

 

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