- Exercising While Sick: Should You Be Doing It?
- A work out for your digestion
- Start small, feel the difference
- Exercise & stress
- Exercise & menstruation
- Working out at a higher intensity than you’re used to can make you feel ill.
- What (and when) you eat before exercise also plays a role.
- Why Do I Feel Like I’m Going to Throw Up After a Workout?
- It could be something you ate—or didn’t eat.
- You might be dehydrated.
- Your body is working overtime.
- It’s totally normal.
- 1. Gas
- 2. Bloating
- 3. Indigestion
- 4. Heartburn/acid reflux
- 5. Cramps
- 6. Nausea
- 7. Urge to go to the bathroom
- It’s Totally Normal to Feel Nauseous After a Workout. Here’s Why It Happens
- When you boost workout intensity, your gut can suffer
- Yup, what you eat and drink beforehand matters
- What if you get nauseous mid-workout?
- Put an end to runner’s diarrhea
- 5 Weird Things That Happen When You Get More Exercise
- 1. Your Muscles Tear
- 2. You’ll Poop More
- 3. The Blood Flow To Your Brain Changes
- 4. Your Sex Drive May Get A Boost
- Girl Talk: Does Anyone Else Have An Intense Urge To Poop After Working Out?
Exercising While Sick: Should You Be Doing It?
Should you exercise while sick? This is a question that has probably come across your mind when you wake up in the morning feeling sick as a dog. If fitness is one of your priorities then maintaining a regular workout routine is probably important to you. However, what about those days when you feel under the weather? Should you proceed to working out or should you just stay in bed? Read on to learn more about exercising while sick.
When Is Exercising While Sick A Bad Idea?
As you probably know, regular exercise is essential for good health. However, there are times when a workout might have a negative effect on your body, especially when you are physically sick. When you exercise, your heart rate increases as well as the core temperature of your body. Your body also burns fuel or energy at a fast rate. Since you are constantly perspiring during exercise, a workout can also cause you to lose water. These effects are all harmless in a healthy body. However, if you’re sick then these effects can have a negative impact on you. For instance, if you are suffering from a fever then this means that the core temperature of your body is already high. Raising this temperature further can be dangerous. Maintaining your bodily fluids is also important when you are sick. Since working out involves water loss, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
Contagious Diseases And Exercise
So how do you know when it’s the right time to work out and when it’s better to just rest in bed? There are several factors that you need to consider when making your decision. First, is your sickness contagious? This is basically the first question you should ask yourself. If your workout involves exercising with other people – such as in a gym or an exercise class – then it’s important that you show consideration for the people around you. You don’t want to show up at your yoga class and start sneezing – spreading germs around in the process. Since you need to touch exercise equipment when you work out in a gym, you might end up spreading your disease to the other gym users.
The Neck Check
Another factor that you should consider is the symptoms of your disease. One good way of determining if it’s safe to exercise while sick is to perform what is called “the neck check”. If the symptoms of your sickness are located above your neck then it’s generally safe to exercise. Above-neck symptoms include a sore throat, a headache or colds. However, you should still decrease the intensity of your workout by as much as 50%. If you start feeling better as you exercise, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workout. However, if you feel yourself becoming dizzy, weak or nauseous then you should immediately discontinue exercising.
On the other hand, if your symptoms are located below your neck then it might be best to take the day off instead. For instance, if you have a severe stomachache, muscle pain or diarrhea then it might be better to just rest in bed.
A work out for your digestion
Start small, feel the difference
Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can also reduce stress and boost your everyday energy levels.
If you can manage three 30-minute sessions of exercise a week, that’s great. Try walking, swimming, jogging or cycling or perhaps choose an exercise class.
If that sounds too daunting, don’t be disheartened. Small things can make a difference too and it’s easy to incorporate little bursts of activity into your daily routine.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
- Walk instead of taking the bus
- Get off the bus one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way
- Park your car further away from where you need to be and walk
- Walk the long way to work, perhaps taking in a park
- Borrow the neighbour’s dog and take it for a walk
Be aware that some forms of high-impact exercise, like running, can exacerbate diarrhea for people with IBS. If this sounds like you, try doing something gentler like yoga or Pilates.
Yoga has a great reputation for reducing the occurrence of diarrhea, while its stretching, breathing and meditative techniques can help you release tension and stay calm.
Exercise & stress
Exercise is known to have a positive effect on stress. We also know that, for some people, stress and anxiety can trigger diarrhea. So, in our high-pressure world, it’s good to know that regular exercise can not only improve your overall digestive health, but it can help avert one of the common diarrhea causes.
Exercise & menstruation
If you’re one of the many women who suffer from diarrhea during your period, a little exercise can help. It might be the last thing you feel like doing when your period’s getting you down, but some physical activity will really boost your digestion, as well as your mood, to help alleviate the symptoms of your monthly cycle. Menstruation and diarrhea can be managed.
Basically, your gastrointestinal system isn’t getting adequate support when your body is moving blood to where it’s needed most. Some workouts are worse than others when it comes to commanding tons of blood flow—for example, leg day can leave you more prone to nausea. “This is due to the size of the muscles as well as the overall volume of work that the legs are capable of handling.”
“In addition, intense full-body workouts can further exaggerate this response, as every muscle in the body will be competing for blood flow,” he says. To counteract this affect, Seedman suggests balancing out a full-body workout by only focusing on intensity for one area. If you’re doing a crazy-hard upper-body workout, take it easy on your lower body that day.
Working out at a higher intensity than you’re used to can make you feel ill.
While it’s great to challenge yourself in the gym, if you choose a workout that you’re not conditioned enough for, you could be setting yourself up for sickness. This is because your body isn’t able to handle the metabolite accumulation that happens when you push extra hard.
Seedman explains, “The harder your muscles work, the more oxygen they need, but after certain point your body is unable to match the oxygen demand with the intensity of the exercise, so you begin to build up metabolic wastes in your body such as hydrogen ions, carbon dioxide, and lactic acid.” This is also what causes that burning feeling in your muscles during a workout. “This buildup can also create a toxic environment and increase the acidity of your body, which can cause an individual to experience a temporary state of nausea and sickness,” he says.
You can experience this no matter what your fitness level is, but you’re more likely to be affected when your body isn’t used to the work you’re putting it through. If you find yourself feeling nauseated after a workout often, try scaling back your workout intensity. Consistently feeling nauseous after a workout can be a sign that you’re overdoing it. “Even for metabolic conditioning purposes, the goal is to provide an intense stimulus without destroying the body in the process,” says Seedman. You can also take longer rest periods in between exercises.
The good news, though? Once the exercise is complete, these metabolites start to clear out of your body, so that sick feeling fades away.
What (and when) you eat before exercise also plays a role.
Going into a workout hydrated and fueled is important, but you can have too much of a good thing. “Having an excess of food and liquids in the stomach before workouts can trigger exercise-induced nausea simply because there won’t be adequate blood circulating in the stomach to promote optimal digestion,” says Seedman.
Why Do I Feel Like I’m Going to Throw Up After a Workout?
There’s no doubt you’ve earned every ounce of sweat and every sore muscle after that especially tough workout. But while these might feel like wonderful badges of honor to a fitness fan, there’s another common, more unwelcome side effect that can also join a tough workout: nausea.
For runners, a lot of times this feeling can come at the end of a race when they’re pushing their bodies to the max to meet that finish line. For HIIT athletes, it can come after an intense circuit.
Feeling like you’re going to throw up after a workout is uncomfortable and can even be demotivating So, we decided to chat with some experts to find out what exactly causes the queasy feeling.
Read on to get to the heart—or stomach, rather—of the issue.
It could be something you ate—or didn’t eat.
With stomach issues, the first culprit is usually something you ate or even when you ate. Kelly Chase, Aaptiv trainer and Certified Holistic Health Coach, explains that nausea can occur if you’ve eaten high-fat, processed junk food or if you’ve eaten too soon before a workout.
“Fatty foods digest slower, explains Chase. Because of this, she says you should focus on consuming protein and carbs at least an hour before a workout. “If meal planning is difficult, then a small pre-workout snack or meal is suggested 30 minutes before a workout.” She suggests a protein shake or three ounces of grilled chicken.
Of course, be sure to avoid big meals right before an intense workout. “Heavy meals that are difficult to digest are more taxing on the intestines,” explains Dr. David Greuner, Surgical Director and Co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates. “This can make your intestines more susceptible to this problem by increasing the amount of oxygen they need.”
But sometimes it’s what you don’t consume that’s causing some gastro issues. If you have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar from lack of nutrients, you might feel nauseous when participating in a super hard workout.
“When your blood sugar is too low, your body sends out signals to tell you so,” explains Dr. Gruener. One of these signals is, sadly, nausea. Another is an increase in your “fight or flight” hormones such as adrenaline, explains Dr. Gruener.
While this helps to raise your blood sugar, it does so with some unwelcome side effects of feeling jittery and tense.
Aaptiv has the right workouts for your body type.
You might be dehydrated.
You might just need some good old fashioned H2O. “We all know a hangover feels terrible, says Dr. Greuner, “but did you know that most of that feeling is due to dehydration?” He explains that same uneasy, sick-to-your-stomach feeling happens if you exercise intensely without being prepared. So be sure to properly fuel up before and during your workout if you know it’s going to be an intense one.
Your body is working overtime.
Naturally, during a really tough workout, you’re putting strain on your body that is above and beyond its norm. Because of these blood pressure and heart rate fluctuations, Dr. Greuner explains there can be irregular and inconsistent blood flow to the brain, which results in dizziness and weakness.
“Your body has pressure receptors on some areas of the body, such as the neck, which help regulate pressure when it senses that blood pressure is too high or too low,” he explains. “This system can malfunction or react too slowly when you are undergoing intense changes in intensity or positions quickly during a workout.”
A change in blood flow can cause you to feel ill. “Your body diverts blood to where it’s needed the most during exercise,” says Dr. Gruener. “This means it moved during intense exercise from your organs, such as the intestines, kidneys, and liver, to the muscles that are working very hard in order to deliver oxygen where it is needed most. During a longer workout, the organs not getting as much blood as normal can suffer a minor injury due to the lack of oxygen. In most cases, this is completely reversible. But it can be painful, and result in diarrhea and abdominal pain.” Translation: you feel sick.
It’s totally normal.
Feeling like you might throw up after a workout is a completely common side effect for athletes. According to Dr. Greuner, nausea is very common after a longer or more intense workout, and can have many physiological causes. Bottom line: it’s normal!
If you experience regular nausea, simply scale back your intensity avoid eating these foods and gradually work up to that level to avoid getting ill. Of course, if you find yourself in a race setting where stopping isn’t an option, Chase suggests you walk it out and sip (no chugging!) fluids to ease your stomach.
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You’re ready for a group run or HIIT class and before you’re two minutes into it, you’re stomach’s rumbling, cramping and swelling. There are many weird side effects of working out and gastrointestinal issues are definitely part of them—some of the more embarrassing ones at that. (You’ve surely heard that Chris Weidman admitted to nearly soiling himself in The Octagon at UFC 187.)
So if burpees make you burp and running, well, gives you the runs, heed to this advice from Marni Sumbal—a dietician who specializes in sport nutrition for triathletes and runners—on preventing the most common stomach issues during a workout. Sumbal herself is a 9x Ironman finisher, so it’s safe to say she’s had some experience battling belly bloat and indigestion during training or a race. With her easy diet and lifestyle hacks, you can be on your way to a happier stomach and an overall more enjoyable workout experience for years to come.
To avoid stomach discomfort and gas, you really need to limit high-fiber foods within four hours of exercise. You don’t want to be sprinting or squatting as you’re digesting (and no one wants to be behind or near you either). “Before a workout, eat low-fiber foods that require minimal digestion like a rice cake or applesauce instead of a piece of bread or an apple,” Sumbal says. Sweeteners and alcohols—found in most protein bars and low-cal sport drinks—can also worsen the problem. If you’re still confused, check out our best pre-workout foods.
Bloating can be caused by a variety of things. You’re binging on junk food, consuming too much dairy, or just simply overeating (among others). To avoid the discomfort, follow these two guidelines: “If you’re eating a pre-workout snack of about 100-200 calories, give your body at least one hour to digest,” Sumbal says. “If you’re consuming a pre-workout meal of about 300 calories or more, allow at least three to four hours to digest.” You don’t want to look and feel like you have a beer belly, so stop the bad pre-workout habit—today.
Don’t go into meals starving—you’re more likely to overeat, which is one of the main causes of indigestion (burning in your upper abdomen, bloating, nausea)—and avoid highly acidic foods like tomato sauce, citrus fruits, coffee, and soda before a workout to decrease stomach upset.
“Although a low-fiber or low-fat snack around 60-90 minutes before a workout may minimize symptoms, some individuals may need to wait two hours for food to fully digest before working out,” Sumbal says. “And if you can’t avoid working out within two hours of eating, limit exercises that may cause abdominal pressure or require your body to move in different planes of motion, which could aggravate the stomach (ex. yoga, CrossFit),” Sumbal adds.
Note: If dietary modifications don’t minimize your symptoms, discuss with your doctor about a possible gastrointestinal issue.
4. Heartburn/acid reflux
Like indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux can be caused and aggravated by the types of food you’re eating and exercises you’re performing. “Limit exercises that require lying down (ex. crunches) within the first 20-30 minutes of your workout,” Sumbal advises. Start with a light warmup to get your blood flowing and body primed instead. You should also avoid spicy and fried foods to minimize reflux, and stay hydrated throughout the day. In short, use common sense; pay attention to the foods that cause your stomach irritation and make note not to eat them again.
Hydration is key—you’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again. If you’re dehydrated during a workout, you may feel lightheaded, weak and your stomach will probably cramp up if you’re doing cardio. Two to three hours before a workout, Sumbal says to drink 14-22 oz of water, plus an additional 8-10 oz 30 minutes before you begin. She also says to ease into your workout routine. Oftentimes cramps form if you’re working out too hard too soon into a routine.
It’s easy to confuse nausea with low blood sugar or blood pressure issues. (Note: It’s important to consult with your physician if you feel any recurring health issues when working out.) The best way to combat this is to strike the right balance food-wise. You don’t want to eat too much or too little before a workout. “Twenty minutes beforehand, have a glass of juice, a box of raisins or a small banana,” Sumbal suggests. “Or an hour before, have a banana with a smear of nut butter and a drizzle of honey.” You want to be satiated, fueled and ready—especially if you have a gruelling workout planned. You don’t want to be overstuffed or running on empty.
7. Urge to go to the bathroom
Our biological needs have a funny way of ruining workouts. A good rule of thumb if you always have to go to the bathroom in the first 30 minutes of any workout, is to use that time as a warmup. Read: Stay close to a restroom. “Most individuals need a warmup to get their systems going and that means your gastrointestinal system as well,” Sumbal says.
If you’re overcome by the urge to pee every time you make it a quarter of a mile into your run, you may be overhydrating. Drink no more than 22 oz of water two hours before a workout, Sumbal says. If you’re someone who’s constantly plagued by diarrhea or loose stools (it happens to the best of us), consider reducing the fiber and fat in your diet in the two to four hours before a workout and 24-hours before a race. And if you find yourself getting backed up or constipated from time to time, caffeine and water may help to limit pre-workout discomfort and flush out your system, she adds.
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It’s Totally Normal to Feel Nauseous After a Workout. Here’s Why It Happens
RELATED: 7 High-Intensity Interval Training Mistakes You’re Probably Making
“It’s not really related to how conditioned you are,” Dr. Babka says. In fact, a small study published in Appetite in 2001 concluded that training did not decrease exercise-induced nausea.
So if your fitness level isn’t the cause of exercise-induced nausea, what is? Experts say your digestive system is to blame. More specifically, exercise interferes with the the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which can result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and queasiness.
When you boost workout intensity, your gut can suffer
When you’re working out, blood flows to the muscles you’re moving and the critical organs that are working—like the heart, lungs, and brain. That means there’s less blood being distributed to the digestive organs, which puts a pause on the processes that break down food in your stomach.
This process is important from a survival standpoint, Michael Richardson MD, a family physician at One Medical Group in Boston, tells Health. “Digesting your food probably comes secondary to running away from a bear,” he points out. But in today’s world—when we’re usually running for fitness or for fun—it mainly becomes an unpleasant side effect.
RELATED: 9 Best Workouts to Do When You Have Your Period
According to Dr. Babka, some workouts command more blood flow away from the GI tract than others. And the more blood that’s diverted, the more intense your symptoms will likely be.
“Due to the size of the muscles in the lower body—like the hamstrings and quads—and the overall volume of a leg-day workout, leg day may leave you more prone to this sensation,” he says. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also exaggerate this response.
However, it’s important to recognize that high-intensity workouts or leg day aren’t necessarily better (or worse) than other forms of exercise, says Dr. Babka, or that nausea is the sign of a really good workout. High-intensity CrossFitters, endurance athletes, and power lifters may be at higher risk of exercised-induced nausea, he says, but “it’s simply a symptom of lack of blood flow—or an indication that you didn’t choose a good pre-workout meal.”
Yup, what you eat and drink beforehand matters
“The largest factor in whether or not you’ll experience this nausea is what and when you ate ahead of time,” says Dr. Babka. Jim White, RDN, an exercise physiologist and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia, agrees.
“Eating too close to your workout won’t give your digestive system enough time to start breaking it down, but eating too early may result in your feeling hungry and sluggish,” White tells Health. “Everybody is different, but eating one to three hours before working out is the suggested window to prevent abdominal discomfort while still fueling your performance.”
RELATED: All the Gear You Need to Get in Shape in 2019
Foods high in saturated fat—bacon, French fries, and burgers, for example—take longer to process in the stomach, so the delay in digestion can create a “deadweight” feeling. “Fatty and greasy foods also stimulate your body to secrete bile to help digest the fat,” says Dr. Richardson. “This bile can add to the gastric pressure and worsen nausea.”
White adds that other foods can add to GI distress, “including spicy foods, items containing caffeine, and highly acidic foods.”
So what should should you eat? Focus on lean protein and complex carbs, which will fuel your workout, suggests White. He recommends a slice of whole-grain toast with almond butter, a banana with low-fat Greek yogurt, or a cheese and turkey roll-up.
Dehydration is another possible culprit of exercise-induced nausea, says White. “During exercise, the body loses water through sweating in an effort to cool down,” he says. “So not drinking enough water ahead of time can increase the symptoms.” The solution is straightforward: Drink water at a steady rate throughout the day.
What if you get nauseous mid-workout?
If you’re in the middle of a workout and nausea hits, Dr. Richardson says it shouldn’t be ignored. “Often, nausea is our body signaling that we are pushing ourselves too hard or that you’re not resting enough between sets,” he says.
To calm the queasiness, dial back on your intensity and try walking around at a slow or moderate pace. “If you stop exercising too quickly, the nausea may get worse because there will be a massive change in where the blood flow is going in a short period of time,” says Dr. Babka.
That’s one reason many running races have participants walk down a shoot after they cross the finish line, he explains. If you’re in a group fitness class, try walking to the water foundation or taking a step back and walking in place.
The bottom line? Exercise-induced nausea isn’t fun. But if it only happens once in a while—and it’s not accompanied by more serious symptoms like fever, really bad muscle cramping, chest pain, a complete lack of sweating, or brown urine (which is a sign of the a dangerous condition called rhabdomyolysis)—Dr. Babka says it’s probably not something to be too concerned with.
If you constantly find yourself feeling nauseous, on the other hand, talk to your doctor to rule out more serious medical conditions. Or, try scaling back your workouts: You may be over-training, and your body may be telling you to take it easy.
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Put an end to runner’s diarrhea
Would you like to avoid runner’s diarrhea on your next outing? Runner’s diarrhea is characterized by frequent, loose bowel movements during or immediately after a run and is most common among (but not limited to) people running long distances (e.g., marathons). Like a lot of things that happen to our bodies, the cause of runner’s diarrhea isn’t clear.
One theory is that extreme exercise directs blood flow away from the intestines to our muscles, contributing to diarrhea.
Another is that the up and down motion stimulates your bowels. People who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may find that running can trigger their symptoms.
Here’s a few simple dietary changes that could make a big difference during your next run:
Adjust your fibre intake
At least one day before running, limit or avoid high-fibre and gas-producing foods, such as beans, bran, fruit and salad. If you run every day, experiment to find a tolerable level of fibre. Otherwise, simply eat those foods after you run.
Hold the sugar
At least one day before running, limit or avoid sweeteners called sugar alcohols – most often found in sugar-free candies, gum and ice cream.
Skip that extra cup of coffee
For three to six hours before running, limit or avoid caffeine and high-fat foods.
Limit your pre-run food intake
For at least two hours before running, don’t eat anything at all to prevent runner’s diarrhea.
Drink more fluids
Try to be well hydrated before your run. After running, drink plenty of fluids – think low-fat chocolate milk or other drinks designed for post-workout rehydration, as dehydration can contribute to runner’s diarrhea. Large volumes of water or juice can worsen diarrhea, and warm drinks may as well.
Be careful with energy supplements
While running, use caution with energy gels and energy bars. For some people, these products can contribute to runner’s diarrhea, so you should probably try them before a run – where you might be at risk to see how they affect you.
Consider your daily diet
Something you’re consuming during the day could be contributing to an upset stomach later on. Simple dietary changes may do the trick. If you’re lactose intolerant, for example, try switching to lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk and milk products.
Plan ahead to avoid runner’s diarrhea
If you know you’re at risk, be prepared. Design your training routes to include a restroom. That way, if you develop the urgency while exercising, you will be able to find relief quickly, without sacrificing your workout.
5 Weird Things That Happen When You Get More Exercise
You may be one of those people who genuinely enjoys getting a work out, someone who schedules their cardio strictly for the social aspects, or a person who avoids exercise as much as humanly possible; but no matter where you stand when it comes to enthusiasm for exercise, you probably know that exercise changes your body, both in the short-term and long-term. We know this — but what you may not know is why these changes happen when we start exercising more.
I mean, I’m sure you’re aware that lifting weights tends to make your muscles grow, and exercising regularly can affect everything from your body composition to your mood. But knowing why exercise affects our bodies and brains the way it does is different than simply observing the changes — and understanding how exercise changes you might give you some interesting insight to your routines as well.
Even if you’ve recently started working out more than usual, you might want know what’s going on in your body when all the weird side effects of working out more start to become noticeable. So check out these five weird things exercising more does to your body, below.
1. Your Muscles Tear
You know that sore feeling you get the day after you hit the gym for the first time in months? Well, that soreness is actually your muscles working to repair all the little rips you created during your last workout. Evidently, when you start working out more, your muscles actually form tiny tears which help them grow bigger and stronger as they heal. So basically, even when you’re safely lifting weights, you’re tearing your muscles — but it’s good for you. Strange, right? If you’re struggling with that soreness, though, the Mayo Clinic recommends staying hydrated, properly fueling, and making sure you’re getting adequate rest, so your body has time to heal.
2. You’ll Poop More
You may already know from experience that exercise can regulate your bowels and help with constipation, but in case you didn’t know, heads up — the more you exercise, the more you’ll poop.
Here’s the deal: exercise cuts down on the time it takes for the food you eat to pass through your large intestine. In turn, this limits the amount of water that gets absorbed from your stool into your body. The less water that your body takes from your stool, the easier it is for you to pass it, and the more regular your bowels become.
Additionally, exercise speeds up your breathing and your heart rate, which helps kick-start the natural contractions of your intestinal muscles. When your intestinal muscles are contracting like they’re supposed to, it helps your body move poops out more quickly. So if you struggle with, um, regularity, hitting the gym is a natural cure.
3. The Blood Flow To Your Brain Changes
When you exercise, your brain immediately starts to function at a higher level because exercise causes increased blood flow to the brain. This is why exercise helps us feel more alert and focused both during and after our workouts.
Additionally, when you start exercising regularly, your brain grows so accustomed to the increased blood flow it gets during exercise that it actually starts to adapt by turning certain genes on or off. Incidentally, many of these brain changes actually work to protect frequent exercisers from diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, while simultaneously reducing their risk of stroke.
4. Your Sex Drive May Get A Boost
During and after exercise, your blood flow increases — and it increases everywhere. Consequently, all that pumping blood allows for our erectile tissue (yes, ladies have that, too! It’s just internal) to fill with blood, which leads to major horniness. Good circulation plays a huge role in sexual arousal, and since regular exercise increases circulation, it also increases sex drive. Which, come to think of it, is also a pretty decent form of exercise.
Girl Talk: Does Anyone Else Have An Intense Urge To Poop After Working Out?
Source: andresr / Getty
I have always worked out, but I have to be honest in saying that I wasn’t sincerely serious about it until last year. After years of working out and then eating God knows what after the fact, I started taking my eating habits seriously and making fitness a priority.
Nowadays, I work out for about an hour at the least, four to five times a week in an attempt to build muscle (I’m going for Angela Bassett arms with old-school Janet Jackson abs and Serena Williams’s butt). I do a mix of cardio (either a class, Stairmaster or running) and strength training, and usually feel pretty good when my workout is complete. You know, accomplished and all that jazz.
But then that urge hits. There I am, minding my business, waiting for the train, and then I get that feeling. It’s a feeling similar to the one I get when I eat something I know I have no business consuming, and then I have to prepare for my body to reject it. (Like the time I did the Daniel Fast and tried to eat Chinese food right after I finished 21 days of clean eating. Bad idea.)
I scurry home, increasing my pace during my 15-minute walk from the train to my apartment, and the minute I open the door, it’s like my bowels know I’m near the bathroom. I literally have to throw my bag and coat to the ground and run to the toilet, where I finally sit and get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty! I’m free at last.
I initially assumed that I had been eating poorly, or that my stomach had somehow become more sensitive than normal. But then I would enter the locker room and notice that folks were dumping the same loads in the gym that I was holding onto for my bathroom at home. (If you were wondering how I knew exactly, the smell was a dead giveaway.) And then I also noticed threads online with people asking, “Why do I have to poop after I workout?” and “Why do I have such huge bowel movements after exercising?” and “Is it normal to poop a lot more?”
So what is going on? Well, it seems that regular exercise equates to regular pooping. As Dr. Sophie Balzora told Buzzfeed, your bowels are moving around just as much as you are during exercise. This is especially true for serious runners, who complain of “runner’s trot.” The discomfort you feel comes from “pounding on the pavement and that mechanical disturbance, the jostling of the intestines. It seems obvious when you compare it to, say, cyclists, who are seated the whole time.”
She also noted that you may also have to poop due to the lack of blood flowing to your intestines during exercise, and dehydration.
And on a side note, if you’re trying to avoid eating crap, opting for foods like peanuts, raisins, fresh fruits, yogurt and more can make your bowels move a lot more.
But all in all, it’s been proven that more workouts equate to more poop.
A few years ago, Swedish scientists did a study comparing the gastrointestinal activity of a group of athletes during a week of heavy training and a week of rest. During the heavy training week, subjects had more bowel movements and not just that, but looser stools.
I’m one who appreciates a good trip to the toilet to do No. 2, especially when I’m in the comfort of my own home, still, the increase in toilet trips did alarm me at one point. But no worries if you’re feeling a little distressed over gastrointestinal distress. A daily poop does the body good–unless it’s a stool with blood, bad cramping, increasing weight loss, and really strong diarrhea. In that case, you definitely have a bigger problem than post-exercise pooping.
Can you relate to the need to go, and badly, after a good workout?
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