Do you feel bloated after working out?
Post-workout belly bloat is usually the opposite of what you expect after a strenuous sweat session. In fact, if this has ever happened to you, it may have been a real deterrent in your plans to get fit.
But why does belly bloat sometimes happen after a workout?
“Your body is designed to be as efficient as possible,” says Amber Schmitz, a gastroenterology nurse practitioner at Aurora Health Center in Two Rivers, Wis. “When you eat food, your body sends blood to your gastrointestinal organs to aid in digestion. If you eat and then work out shortly after, your body is trying to do more than one function that requires a lot of blood and oxygen.”
And when your body is trying to send blood and oxygen to both your muscles and your digestive system, one takes a backseat – digestion.
“Muscles take priority in this case, which slows down digestion greatly,” Schmitz says. “This often leads to bloating of the stomach, especially when you’ve eaten foods with protein, fiber or fat, or drinks with artificial sweetener.”
Schmitz offers some tips to help avoid belly bloat during and after workouts:
- Do not eat anything two to three hours before a workout.
- Stick to water before and during your workout, avoiding energy drinks and drinks with artificial sweeteners for at least a couple hours before you work out.
- Make sure you’re drinking the appropriate amount of water. Being over- or under-hydrated can cause bloating.
“Keep in mind bloating is sometimes inevitable and it happens to everyone at some point in time,” Schmitz says. “If you feel bloated before or during a workout, don’t over-exert your body. Stick to a lighter routine that day. But don’t let it distract you from your goals or keep you from being active.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.