Exercising after Eating

Most people can exercise after eating without developing cramps. Food stays in your stomach for a while after you eat because it can't leave until it's turned into liquid. As long as food is in the stomach, your stomach muscle must squeeze to turn it into a liquid soup. Active muscles need huge amounts of oxygen from the blood that flows to them.

When food is in your stomach during exercise, your heart has to pump blood to both the exercising muscles and those in the stomach. If your heart is not strong enough to supply blood to both, it stops pumping blood to the stomach muscles, which lack oxygen, accumulate lactic acid and start to hurt. Fit people can exercise after they eat as long as they don't exercise so intensely that their skeletal muscles use up all the available oxygen and cause their stomach muscles to hurt.

Checked 12/19/11

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