Digestion Tips For Athletes
Spring has sprung. While you can’t wait to take advantage of the long days and get moving, we want to make sure your digestion can keep up with your hot feet. Just as it strengthens your muscles, regular exercise, along with a diet high in fiber, can strengthen the digestive system over time.
Allow 2-3 hours after a meal for digestion before vigorous activityWhile cardiovascular activity has been shown to strengthen core muscles and stimulate intestinal muscles to move contents through the digestive system, exercising too soon after a meal can increase stress on your digestion and result in flatulence, nausea, and other forms of gastric distress.
Vary your exercise routineLight exercise that promotes stretching, such as yoga or pilates, can ease your digestive tract and reduce stress. Consider incorporating yoga, pilates, or light stretching into your training routine during your rest days.
Stay hydrated (but beware of hyponatremia)You’ve heard—and try to adhere to—the old “8 glasses of water”. That’s a fine place to start, especially if you’re chronically dehydrated. But if you’re participating in high-intensity exercise—like running—in the heat of the Louisiana summer, it is vital that you rehydrate correctly. Overconsumption of water following excessive sweating can result in hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in the blood drop dangerously low. Symptoms of hyponatremia include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Restlessness and irritability
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps