Common Causes and Remedies for Stomach Cramps After Eating
7. Exercising Immediately After Eating
Exercising right after eating confuses your body! This is something that you were probably told as a kid but probably ignored as an adult. I'm not pointing fingers here, as I'm guilty as well! Do you remember your parents saying, "Don't go swimming right after eating a meal when you're at the beach—Your stomach will cramp up, and you'll collapse or drown!" You might think it sounds a bit exaggerated, but it's actually not too far from the truth.
- Your body is very good at both eating and exercising. But not at the same time, nor one after the other.
Most of the day, your blood is flowing around your body, transporting vital nutrients to your internal organs, taking away bad or old cells to expel them as waste after filtering them through the kidneys and liver. When you eat, your digestive system requires a large amount of energy to do its job effectively. Your brain sends a message to your heart to start pumping more blood to your digestive system at an incredible rate to give it the energy it requires for you to digest your food.
- This is why you might feel very tired after eating a big meal, particularly if that meal is high in starchy foods such as pasta, rice, or potatoes. Your gut has used so much energy that it makes the rest of your body feel lethargic and tired.
When you exercise, the opposite shift in blood happens. Your brain fires neurotransmitters around your body, sending blood and oxygen to your muscular system to allow your muscles to contract and relax properly.
So, if you've just eaten and started exercising (even walking briskly), your system is confused because your digestive system is trying to retain blood and oxygen, but your muscles are trying to divert these resources away from your gut and into muscle tissue. The end result is stomach aches, cramps, and gastrointestinal stress.