We all know how important exercise is for our health. Running is one of the easiest exercise which helps to keep an overall fitness and endurance. It not only tones the muscle and burns unnecessary fat from our body, but running also boosts our heart to function at its maximum. In short it is good exercise for energizing yourself.
Many people include few minutes of running in their daily exercise routine for improving their health. For them, running does not pose any health related issue. However, running for long distance and for many hours surprisingly causes diarrhea in few individuals.This is more common in athletic runners, especially a novice runner.
Runner’s diarrhea as it is called can be described as a frequent, sudden and an irresistible urge to pass loose bowel movement while running or soon after the running event.
What Causes Runners Diarrhea?
Though the exact cause still remains unresolved for diarrhea during and after running, many researchers believe it is lack of blood flow to the intestine while running (as most of the blood is directed towards muscles) which is responsible for diarrhea. The type of diet ingested before running is another suspected cause.High fiber food, eating food just before participating in running, food that is rich in sugar is also known to cause diarrhea after running.
- Dairy products contain protein and it takes many hours to digest. Person having past history of lactose intolerance should avoid eating dairy products a day before running for long distance.
- Many times a person’s bowel habit may coincide with running and this may trigger urgent urge to pass stools.
- Drinking and eating caffeinated products few hours before running is also responsible for runner’s diarrhea. Avoid eating food that contain high amount of fats four to five hours before running.
- During long running event, lot of body fluid and electrolyte is lost. Dehydration is also a reason to trigger loose bowel movement after running.
- Person suffering from irritable bowel syndrome is at a risk of getting an urge in the middle of running or after long distance running.
Preventing Diarrhea While And After Running
Generally diarrhea after running subsides in one or two days. But few steps when taken before running may altogether prevent diarrhea from happening in first place.
- Avoid eating any food two hours before running. Presence of food in stomach may trigger an urge for a bowel movement after and during running for a long distance.
- At least one day before running, avoid eating food that is rich in fibers. Avoid consuming too much of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains etc.
- Do not eat or drink caffeinated products 6 hours before long distance running. Same should be followed for food rich in fats.
- One day before running avoid eating sugar free candies or any other sugar free sweets. This is because many of them contain sweeteners known as sugar alcohols, which are triggering cause for diarrhea during and after long distance running.
- It is of prime importance to stay well hydrated when you are running for long distance. Drink any sports drink which contains electrolytes. It replenishes the lost body fluid as well as the electrolytes.
- Eat bananas when you have diarrhea after running. Ripe bananas are more effective. They contain vital nutrients which help in getting rid of diarrhea. Bananas are rich in potassium. When potassium and other electrolyte is replaced too much of intestinal contraction is reduced. For this reason ripe banana has become favorite food among athletes.
- If there is lactose intolerance, try to avoid eating dairy products few days before running, or switch over to lactose free dairy products which also includes milk.