I have had this problem for many years. Here's my take on it:
- don't use a heart rate monitor, as suggested. I once looked at my heart rate monitor when I felt fine, saw "193 BPM" on it, and that prompted a panic attack, just the number alone!
- exercise on a completely empty stomach. For me, this means first thing in the morning w/o having had breakfast. This wouldn't apply to you if nausea and feeling like you're about to throw up are not among your symptoms. When I get that feeling I remind myself "you aren't going to throw up, there's nothing in your body, stfu and gbtw."
- don't do cardio. This is my best solution. I don't do it at all and I put 100% of my effort (which is a LOT) into strength training which I love. Something about strength training - even though it spikes my heart rate dozens of times during a session - doesn't freak me out. I think the difference is the breathing and the fact that I'm often already sitting or even lying down.
- don't stop suddenly. This is a big one. If you are running and feel like "oh crap, I'm going to die", reduce speed but do not stop suddenly. If you do, all your blood will be in your legs and you will be lightheaded and the panic attack will be much worse. Always warm up and cool down. Panic attack folks should probably triple both the warm up and cool down time. Maybe more.
- Take a tiny sip of water to distract yourself. Music can help. Sometimes counting through the breathing and gait on a treadmill can help because you subconsciously feel like your body is doing something routine/easy.
- But don't drink too much water. Having water sloshing around in your stomach can lead to yucky feelings which can lead to "I feel sick" which is the beginning of the end.
- Give yourself to take as many breaks as you need to. As you get fitter, you won't need as many breaks.
- Do NOT skip a workout over this. Try to put as many back-to-back exercise days in a row as you possibly can, although it's totally fine to have *scheduled* rest days. I do M-F at the gym, Sat/Sun rest days, and I don't skip. Even if I feel like crap I go and play around for a few minutes and then leave (though usually I feel magically better and just do whatever I meant to anyway).
It sucks, I know. I thought I was the only person who'd ever experienced this. Kind of cool to know I'm not.
Fitness Minutes: (7,194)
50 12/11/12 2:42 A
This happened to me a lot, but I found that it was somewhat linked to my current diet. I was not getting in enough nutrition at the time which helped trigger some very bad panic attacks.
You may also want to try an exercise that doesn't feel like exercising. I, for example, took up horseback riding (which burns major calories but simply feels like fun). Try taking up an activity that's fun....
I also found that swimming was a nice exercise that didn't get my heart-rate up too much.
Edited by: FIT4LIFE11111 at: 12/11/2012 (02:42)
Fitness Minutes: (6,795)
102 12/11/12 1:31 A
I also used to get panic attacks when exercising alone. But I noticed changing a few things helped me to calm down. While im jogging I usually turn the music up and that usually distracts me and jog before the sun sets. Before when I first started jogging I could only jog at night and I would get a lot of nasty panic attacks. Also focusing on your breathing may help as well. And I dont know if this may help you or not but it does help me. Everytime I do feel like Im starting to get a panic attack, I keep telling myself "Everything is alright and your in no danger." While focusing on my breathing and music aswell. But if I am already having a panic attack I then tell myself "What your feelling now isnt going to last forever and calm down and relax."
Also you might want to talk to your Docter about it and he/she may beable to help you out and give you some advice.
My brother had his first panic attack in 1975 when no one had heard of it. The doctor told him to read "Hope and help for your nerves" by Claire Weeks MD. He's listened to her audiobook dozens of times over the years. He takes XANAX and that helps. www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pXyf80ak7M
Fitness Minutes: (12,027)
5,805 12/10/12 5:43 P
I just recently started exercising again, therefore I tend to get winded and get my heart rate up pretty quickly. I've noticed that when I exercise with my husband or daughter then it doesn't seem to bother me as badly. However, when I exercise alone I tend to stop sooner, and it also tends to trigger a panic attack.
I have heard of this condition before in people prone to panic attacks, since the increased heart rate and rapid breathing tricks your body into thinking it is in danger. However, with changing schedules, I will be exercising alone more and would like to see if anyone knows of any tricks to keep my body from jumping straight to the panic mode.
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