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Everything You Need to Know About Nausea After a Workout

After working out you’re likely to feel a rush of endorphins and be on a high, but there are times when nausea follows your sweat session. In fact, nausea may be so bad after an intense workout that you feel you need to run to the bathroom ASAP or else your breakfast will be covering the gym equipment.

It’s unpleasant, but it’s also pretty common, and there are a number of reasons why this is happening. Intense exercise can affect the digestive tract, because blood is flowing to the muscles, and away from the organs. This leaves the digestive tract without support, or as exercise physiologist Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D. explained to Self: "Because of the intensity [of a hard workout] and the significant workload, blood is distributed to the muscles to promote nutrient and oxygen transport. Unfortunately, this leaves little blood left to circulate to the stomach and intestines, and as a result, oftentimes triggers a nausea or vomiting response.”

There are also some exercises which tend to trigger the gastrointestinal tract, these include running, leg workouts, and intense full-body workouts, Self notes.

Does nausea after a workout mean you trained hard and did a great job? Well, not exactly. What it does mean is that your body wasn’t ready for the intensity of the workout, and it’s best to not to overdo it. Healthline notes that you should push yourself, but go about it in a more careful manner.

It’s not just intense workouts to consider though, but also the fluid and food intake before a workout.

This feeling can be made even worse if you ate within three hours before training, Refinery29 notes. Healthline reports that when working out, digestion is slowed, and this can cause discomfort. There are also certain foods, like those high in fat and protein, which take longer to digest.

As for fluid, while it’s important to stay hydrated, sometimes individuals drink too much which can dilute the electrolyte levels resulting in low sodium in the blood, and thus nausea. Healthline states that for every 10 to 20 minutes working out, an individual should drink between 7 to 10 ounces of fluid.

Before you despair, there are ways to reduce the sick feeling, and Dr. Joel Seedman told Self that if people walk around at a slow to moderate pace after their sweat session, it could help reduce the effect of nausea.

If it’s not what you ate, or the intensity of the workout, it could also be a result of heatstroke, and if you’ve been working out in the summer sun, or in a heated class, then this is something to consider.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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