Why exercise could be making you sick

Throwing up after a workout is more common than you think

Olivia Petter
Friday 10 November 2017 16:30
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Could exercise be making you sick? Up to half of athletes experience some form of gastrointestinal discomfort while exercising.

While the severity of symptoms varies between cases, these can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal angina, and bloody diarrhoea.

This is because blood flow is typically reduced during intense exercise, the Sports Medicine study revealed.

Not only does this affect an athlete’s performance but also their post-workout recovery, the researchers found.

When you eat before your workout plays a big part in how comfortable you feel while exercising, so there's clearly a simple way to avoid it.

One study, published in Appetite, looked at the effects eating had on exercise-induced nausea in 2001 and found that both high and low intensity workouts caused gastric discomfort to varying degrees when participants had worked out immediately after eating.

“Unfortunately this type of discomfort is common,” explained personal trainer Richard Tidmarsh, who runs Reach Fitness.

“That's not because people are training particularly hard, it's due to poor preparation,” he told The Independent.

The key is allowing enough time between eating and working out, he explained.

“If you eat your breakfast 30 minutes before an intense training session, you are likely to see it twice,” the celebrity trainer revealed.

Despite often pushing himself to the limit in his own training sessions, Tidmarsh said that he has never been sick after working out, crediting this to proper meal planning, good hydration and enough sleep.

“To avoid this discomfort you need to realise that training doesn't start the minute you step in the gym door, but three to four hours before you start,” he said.

The problem is particularly prevalent for long-distance runners, who are more inclined to experience gastric discomfort due to the way that running physically jolts the organs and alters intestinal hormone secretion, research claims.

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