How Long Should You Wait After Eating To Run? We all know that overeating food before running can lead to stomach problems. But what about waiting too long after eating to run? Is there any benefit of staying longer than 30 minutes before heading out the door?
Many runners say they feel sluggish when they eat within 30 minutes of running. They think their body isn’t ready to go yet. Others wait up to 2 hours before running.
But is there any evidence that either of those approaches works better than just going right away?
What Happens If You Run Too Soon After Eating? | How Long Should You Wait After Eating To Run?
Running too soon after eating can cause digestive issues. Some belief eating too close to exercise causes bloating, cramping, nausea, and diarrhoea.
While this may seem logical, research shows that most people who experience gastrointestinal distress from eating before exercising do so because they ate too little beforehand.
The best advice is to avoid eating less than 3 hours before exercise. If you must eat immediately before running, try to consume foods that digest slowly. Eat meals as per your need throughout the day instead of large ones. Avoid heavy foods such as pizza, burgers, and fries.
Also, drink plenty of water during the day. Drinking enough water helps prevent dehydration and makes it easier to digest food. Drink 1/3 cup every 15 minutes.
Waiting Too Long After Eating to Run?
Waiting too long after eating can cause you to lose weight. A study published by the American College of Sports Medicine found that athletes who waited more than 1 hour after eating before exercising lost more weight than those who ate a little earlier.
Another study from the University of Texas showed that athletes who ran immediately after finishing a meal burned more calories than those who waited 90 minutes.
So why does waiting so long after eating help you burn fat?
When you eat anything, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose is stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles. When you exercise, your body uses glycogen stores to fuel your workout.
However, if you wait too long between meals, your body starts storing excess carbs as fat instead of burning them off during exercise. That means you end up putting on pounds rather than losing them.
How Long to Wait After Eating to Run
1: Your Digestive System:
If you wait at least an hour after eating, your digestive system has time to process and absorb some of the food. This gives your body time to use the nutrients for energy and eliminates the risk of indigestion or other GI symptoms.
2: Your Body Needs Time to Adjust:
Your body needs time to adjust to the new food intake. It takes approximately 20-30 minutes for your brain to signal your body to start using the food you just consumed.
3: Your Blood Sugar Levels Will Be Steady:
Your blood sugar levels will be steady if you wait at least half an hour after eating. The reason is that your pancreas releases insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin is released when your blood sugar drops below normal.
4: You Won’t Get Hungry Again:
You will get hungry again 2-4 hours have passed since you last ate. Hunger signals your brain to release hormones that tell your stomach to make you feel full.
5: You’ll Feel Full:
You’re likely to feel complete if you wait at least 30 minutes after eating. Food doesn’t travel through your digestive tract quickly. So, you may feel dissatisfied if you eat later after you finish eating.
6: You Can Exercise Immediately After Eating:
Exercise immediately after eating because your body will still be using the food you just ate. However, you need to wait at least an hour before starting intense workouts.
7: You Don’t Have To Think About What You Are Eating:
Eating right before exercise allows you to focus on the task at hand. But, if you wait at least one hour after eating, you won’t have to think about what you are eating.
8: You’ll Lose Weight Faster:
Waiting longer after eating means you’ll lose less weight. A study from the University of Florida found that people who waited 45 minutes after eating lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t wait.
9: You’ll Burn More Calories:
Waiting longer after eating means you can burn more calories. In fact, a study from the University of Illinois found that people who waited 60 minutes after eating burned 50% more calories than those who ate within 15 minutes.
10: You’ll Eat Less:
Waiting longer means you’ll eat less. A study performed by (the National Institutes of Health)NHS found that people who waited 90 minutes after finishing their meal ate only 25% of the amount they would have eaten had they started eating sooner.
Foods to Eat Before a Run
So how do we know if waiting longer is better? Well, let’s start by looking at the science behind our bodies.
When we exercise, our muscles break down glycogen stores so that we can burn fat. When we consume carbohydrates, our body breaks down the carbs into glucose. Glucose then enters our bloodstream, where it travels to our cells. Our cells then convert glucose into energy.
Our brain uses 20% of the oxygenated blood from our lungs. So, when we exercise, our heart pumps faster and harder to deliver more oxygenated blood to our brains. That means less time spent delivering oxygenated blood to our muscles.
As a result, our muscle fibers begin to fatigue. If we continue exercising past this point, our muscles will eventually stop working.
That’s why most experts recommend waiting at least half an hour after eating before starting a workout.
However, there is no scientific evidence that shows that waiting longer actually makes us stronger. Plus, the rule may vary depending on your fitness level. Some studies show that athletes who waited longer could run farther distances. However, others found that waiting longer could have improved performance.
So, if you’re still wondering whether to wait longer, here are foods to eat before a run to help boost endurance.
These foods contain simple sugars that provide quick bursts of energy. These include fruits, vegetables, milk and yoghurt.
Fruits, especially bananas, apples, oranges and pears, contain a natural sugar called fructose. Fructose provides short bursts of energy.
Vegetables, such as carrots, spinach and broccoli, contain complex carbohydrates that give you sustained energy throughout the day.
Milk contains protein, calcium and vitamin D. Protein helps build lean muscle mass and increases strength. Calcium strengthens bones and helps maintain healthy joints. Vitamin D boosts immunity and helps absorb nutrients.
Yoghurt contains probiotics, which promote digestive health and aid digestion. Probiotic bacteria in yoghurt digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products.
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