Why do I feel sick after go-karting?

So you get off your go kart after a few rounds on the track and you felt sick. Let's dive into why it's happened and how to prevent that.

It took me some time before I got into ‘real’ karting. For most of my karting races, including my first one in Affi, the tracks provided me rental karts with throttle limits, which felt like a walk in the park. This all changed when I secured a few minutes inside a 125cc, 2-stroke engine go-kart at my local track. If any of you have had that experience, you’ll know the abysmal feeling in your stomach once you reach the pits. So, what is that feeling?

Well, it’s a mix of various factors. The high g-forces and dehydration are really taxing to your body, so they won’t only make it sore, but they’ll also make your stomach feel very unwell.

That being said, one overlooked factor is motion sickness. I believe that motion sickness is the main reason why you feel sick after go-karting. That’s because apart from feeling nauseous, I also felt reasonably dizzy after my experience with the 125cc kart. I’m not the healthiest person, but this was too extreme a body reaction for me.

So, that’s why I wondered what motion sickness is, how long it lasts and why I suffered from it after go-karting.

What is Motion Sickness?

I always believed that motion sickness was something that children suffered from on long car trips. Apparently, I was wrong!

Simply put, motion sickness is a conflict between all your senses. The muscles of the body, the eyes, and the ears send out different signals to the brain. The brain can’t conclude what’s going on, so it causes motion sickness.

In other words, your mind believes that you’re falling into a void because of the conflicting signals it receives from different parts of your body. For some unknown reason, this feeling is connected to the stomach, causing the nauseating feeling and motion sickness.

I’m not a doctor by any means, so here’s a really cool video that explains what goes on in your body when you’re suffering from motion sickness.

That’s all great, but why does go-karting induce motion sickness?

Why does Go Karting induce motion sickness?

As I’ve already said, you can get motion sickness from go-karting. Similar to how you could get sick if you’re a passenger in any form of transport, go-karting confuses your brain visually. Add to that the intense speeds that go-karts can reach and the numerous corners, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

There are two main reasons why go-karting induces motion sickness. For starters, the go-kart tracks’ design is meant to give you an adrenaline rush and to be fun. This means that there are several high-speed corners that are sure to make you dizzy.

On the other hand, unlike public roads, there are no speed limits apart from the top speed of each go-kart. In turn, you might be going extremely fast (125cc karts can go up to 87mph!), which will surely make your stomach feel unwell.

So, when you take both reasons into consideration, you can understand why go-karting can cause motion sickness. I certainly understood that pretty well, and so did my stomach.

Thankfully, my motion sickness didn’t last for a long time.

How long does motion sickness last?

As soon as the adrenaline rush faded away, I started feeling the effects of motion sickness. But, once I was back home, I drank plenty of water, ate an energy bar, and had a quick cold shower. This seemed to help a lot.

Generally, motion sickness can last for 4 hours if left untreated. If you’re more sensitive to motion than most people, then you might feel the effects for a whole day.

That being said, from my experience, as long as you stay hydrated and you try to relax and focus on something else (e.g., reading a book, watching a movie, e.t.c), you’ll get better fast. Remember that motion sickness results from your brain being confused, so if you don’t overstimulate it, you should be fine in no time.

But, does motion sickness go away after you’ve gone karting several times?

Does motion sickness go away?

Unfortunately, motion sickness doesn’t go away. While it would be nice if motion sickness were a one-time thing, it’ll be present every time you drive excessively on the go-kart track.

In other words, if you keep driving to the limit, you’ll always feel slightly ill once the adrenaline wears off. But, there’s good news!

The more you race to the limit, the more your brain gets accustomed to go-karting. So, while you’ll still feel slightly sick, it gets better the more times you’re on track.

In that sense, I’ve noticed that go-karting is similar to working out. If you start working out after a long hiatus, you’ll feel pretty sick once the workout is done. But, the more you work out, the less ill you feel, even though the feeling never goes away.

However, there are a few ways to prevent you from feeling sick when go-karting.

How do you stop feeling sick when go-karting?

I’ll start by saying that going to the go-kart course without any warm-up is wrong. I usually spend a few minutes using some equipment to warm up and stretch my arms and shoulders. But, this isn’t enough.

  • Be Well-Rested. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you’ll be exhausted, so you’ll feel really sick from the moment you take the first turn.
  • Stay Hydrated. Dehydration is one of the reasons why you might feel sick after a race, so make sure to drink as much water as you can before the race.
  • Have a Snack. Any small snack will give you enough energy for the race. A protein bar is my favorite snack before a race. 

Fellow go-kart racers have suggested you take certain pills before the race, but I’m not well-versed in medicine to recommend any pills. Also, don’t even think about drinking alcohol before the race. Not only will you be sick, but you’re also putting every other racer in danger.

That being said, I’ve figured that if I focus on the race or the timed trial itself, I get much less motion sickness. I’ve seen some racers with bracelets on their wrists that will apply pressure on certain parts; this supposedly prevents motion sickness.

There are also several home remedies, like chewing gum or ginger. I usually chew gum wherever I go, but I prefer not to while I’m karting. You can easily choke on gum while you’re go-karting because you’ll be out of breath for most of the time, especially if you’re pushing the kart to its limit.

Don’t let any of this discourage you from visiting your local go-kart track. I can guarantee that the amount of fun you’ll have on the track will be worth any soreness or nausea you might feel afterward.

Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!

FAQs for Feeling Sick After Go-Karting

Why do I feel sick a day after my first time go-karting?

It’s common to feel sick and sore after go-karting for the first time. As long as you take a rest and stay well-hydrated for the next few days, you should be ready to get back to the track in less than a week. But, if you still feel sick after a couple of days, you should get in touch with your doctor, as it may be something more serious.

How can I stop feeling sick after go-karting?

There’s no definite solution to prevent you from feeling sick after go-karting. But, drinking plenty of water and not racing on an empty stomach helps. It would be best if you also rested a lot after the race. Some racers also suggest chewing gum when you’re racing on your go-kart so that you’re not sick afterward.

Why am I dizzy after a go-kart race?

You’re probably suffering from motion sickness or dehydration. Motion sickness is common after a go-kart race if you’ve not prepared properly. In either case, you should drink plenty of fluids (I’d highly suggest a soda or a sports drink) and rest.

If you have any more questions that you’d like me to answer, be sure to contact me or leave a comment below.

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