You have just finished an intense running session when your stomach begins to rumble and you feel nauseous. This can lead you to vomit, which may make you feel better temporarily — but can later lead to a host of problems.
Some people view throwing up after exercise like a badge of honor, as if you have exercised your hardest. While this condition can be an occasional occurrence for avid runners who enjoy running at an intense pace, you shouldn't accept it as a fact of life.
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Throwing Up After Running: Causes
When you exercise, your body decreases blood flow from your intestines and stomach to your moving muscles and heart because of your body's increased demands there. While this may help you exercise harder, it can have adverse effects on your stomach, making you feel nauseous and causing your stomach to heave out whatever is in it because it cannot continue to digest it.
If you are running in very hot weather or have not hydrated properly, you are more likely to find yourself throwing up after running. This can be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as heatstroke, according to Mayo Clinic.
Don't Make It Your Norm
According to an article published in the December 2013 issue of Przeglad Gastroenterologiczny, gastrointestinal symptoms are common among athletes — particularly those in endurance sports such as running. However, that doesn't mean it's a good thing.
While throwing up after running can make you feel better because the food is no longer in your intestinal tract, it can have harmful effects on your body. For example, throwing up brings up stomach acid that can damage your esophageal lining, which causes pain and affects your digestion. You should not accept throwing up after an intense running session as typical. Instead, you should take steps to prevent it.
Prevent Throwing Up After Running
If you're feeling sick after a long run, recovery should include a proper cool down. Cooling down after running can help to reduce nausea that leads to vomiting. If you are running fast, such as in a race, and you stop immediately, your brain, lungs and heart may not be ready for the rapid change, and your stomach may continue contracting, which can make you feel ill. Continue to walk around, bringing your heart rate down and sipping on water or a sports drink to help your body equalize.
According to an article published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2012, high carbohydrate intake is a risk factor for nausea and gas, but it has also been shown to increase performance.
Examine the foods you are eating before exercise. If you are eating a large or fats-heavy meal, you are more likely to experience stomach upset following exercise. Switch to a small snack like a half-bagel with peanut butter, fruit smoothie or protein shake. Experiment with what you eat before your workout — each person's body responds differently.
Listen to Your Body
While throwing up after running often is related to running itself, in other instances it is not. If you continue to experience stomach pain or intestinal distress, you could have a more serious issue, such as a virus, ulcer or abdominal condition. If you continue to experience vomiting with every ensuing running session, see a physician who can evaluate you for an underlying condition. Also, you may be exercising too intensely and need to back off.