“Exercise intolerance” sounds like something someone would make up in order to get out of working out. “I can’t I have exercise intolerance.” But it is legitimately one of the symptoms of POTS.
So what does that mean? It means that my body, literally displays every message to me that I should rest. I get dizzy when I exercise, my heart rate gets out of control, and I get pale and sweaty. UNTIL I get over the hump?
I think everyone can relate to that place in exercise where you start and you don’t want to be there, but then you get past it and you’re super motivated and everything is smooth sailing.
Well for someone with POTS, you may literally feel like exercise could kill you that day, but then you push play and your blood starts to flow and your heart rate normalizes, and the effects of exercise last long after exercise itself. For most people that is a good thing because calorie burn, weight loss, increased metabolism, and all that. But, for a person with POTS that is a great thing because, that means lessened symptoms for a bit of time.
The best form of exercise for people with POTS is low impact exercises in which you can do at your own pace. So, although taking a cycling class may seem like the most popular form of exercise and something everyone should do, a person with POTS should probably steer clear of a cycling class, instead maybe design your own cycling workout and pause when you need to!
I have found that the best form of exercise for me personally is weight lifting. It increases blood flow to every area of my body, increases heart rate slowly, but does not create a dramatic spike, and increases muscle mass which should overall increase blood circulation. I have also found yoga and pilates to be good “POTS approved” workouts. Stretching and foam rolling are also also excellent ways to increase circulation and can be added on after a workout, or stand alone as your activity for the day.
At the end of the day the most important thing you can learn to do is listen to your body. Know what is beneficial and what is harmful to you as an individual, and what works best for your body. This goes for everyone, whether you have POTS or not.