Exercise VS Digestion
The relationship between exercise and digestion is always tricky—they cannot happen at the same time, yet they can assist one another in everyday function. For the active individual, it is a delicate dance between energy intake and energy expenditure, which ultimately affects how we feel. If you’ve ever worked out on a full stomach, you know what I mean, and you likely avoided making that mistake again! You see, the majority of your blood flows to the muscles and away from the digestive tract when you exercise, temporarily halting digestion. Therefore, you are likely to experience upset stomach or heartburn while working out, if you have recently eaten. The best advice I can give is to make sure you do not eat a meal for at least one hour before a workout, and make sure you stay hydrated. Sometimes, if I am really hungry but haven’t gotten my workout in yet, I will have a small healthy snack, such as an apple with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with fruit and granola beforehand, and I am usually okay, but everyone is different, so listen to your body! It may take some trial and error, but you will figure out what kind of meal and workout timing schedule works best for you. Your body will also become more efficient at pulling nutrients from your food the more fit you are, so I guess you can say a fitter body leads to a happier tummy! Bon appetit!
~Shara Swager, Fitness Specialist, Health As We Age, Inc.