When I was small, whenever I wanted to to play football right after my meal, my mum would stop me and told me that I might get appendicitis. Not only my mum, my teachers have been telling me the same thing too. This concern has haunted me for many years.
Actually, it is just a myth. Exercising after eating will not get you appendicitis.
However, you need to be aware of several things if you want to exercise right after your meal. Once you eat your food, it stays in your stomach for some time while waiting to be digested. Your stomach muscles have to work to help turning the food into liquid. These muscles need oxygen from the blood that flows into them. So, when you are exercising, your stomach muscles have to compete with other muscles (arm, chest, legs or others) for the oxygen from blood. When your stomach muscles do not get enough oxygen, the food will not be digested fully. Lactic acid will accumulate since not much work being done by your stomach muscle. Consequently, some people may complain about stomachache. Constantly moving or jumping make it harder for your body to digest the food.
In the case when your muscles do not get enough blood instead, you may suffer from muscle cramp.
So, how long should you wait before you start exercising after having meal?
- It depends on how much you eat, what you eat and what exercise you want to do as well as the intensity of your workout.
- The more you eat and the higher the fat and protein content, the longer you should wait before your start exercising. For instance, if you eat a bacon cheeseburger and a chocolate shake, you may need to wait for 2 to 3 hours before you work out strenuously. I myself prefer to wait for at least one and half hour after my dinner.
- The harder you plan to train, the longer you need to rest after your meal. If you are going for a brisk walk after eating, you do not have to wait for few hours.
If you are eating a pre-workout meal, go for something light such as yogurt, cereal or energy bars. A single piece of fruit or a slice of bread will do the trick too. You can work out almost immediately.
Some readers have asked me another question – how about drinking huge amount of liquid before working out?
Again, drinking before exercising poses no threat. Just that if you move around, you may feel uncomfortable. Just imagine huge amount of water is moving together inside your stomach. If you look at athletes, they consume much water during rest time yet they still play a good game without problem.
The bottom line is that what to eat, how much to eat and how long to rest before exercising is something you need to experiment yourself. By trying different food and different interval will allow you to find out the best food and workout timetable that suits your the best.
By the way, if you wonder why people get appendicitis – it is caused by infection. Doctors and scientists are also not certain what causes the infection. However, in many cases, small object like hard piece of stool which blocks the opening of appendix may cause that. The bacteria from the stool grow into the appendix and cause infection. Based on the statistics, 8 out of 100 people will get appendicitis.
Category: Other Fitness/Sports Articles
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