How Long Exactly Should You Wait To Exercise After Eating?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

You’ve possibly heard the old adage which warns against jumping into the pool straight after eating. Though it’s maybe alright to swim after a meal, you may want to wait at least 30 minutes in order to avoid muscle cramps. However, just how long should you wait to go for a run or lift weights after eating?

When To Exercise After Eating

When eating a meal, food enters into your stomach and is gradually processed as well as released into your small intestine in tiny amounts. It usually takes between two and a half hours for food to completely move from your stomach to your small intestine.

While it’s often unnecessary to wait until food is fully digested prior to exercising, it’s best to give it a number of hours to settle down in your stomach. For most individuals, between one and two hours is enough after a moderate-sized meal, while waiting at least half an hour after a snack is fine.

At that point, food will be sufficiently digested to avoid stomach upset. That being said, as the intensity of the exercise rises, so does the risk of side effects.

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What Format Of Exercise Will You Be Doing?

What you eat may influence the success of your exercise routine at least as well as the timing of your meal — particularly when you factor in the activity itself. It becomes far easier to exercise within a couple hours after a substantial meal, for instance, if the meal itself isn’t filled with the types of food which will “weigh you down”.

For an activity which is slated to last longer than 60 minutes, your pre-workout meal needs to have an emphasis on healthy carbohydrates. Good selections for breakfast include whole grain pancakes or bagels slices, along with a couple of pieces of fruit or fruit juice. Lunch or dinner options may include a sandwich with whole grains, or a meal that is based on brown rice or wheat pasta. Plan to make around half of your meal carbohydrates.

Also, carry along healthful-carbohydrate snacks if that hike or paddleboard trip which will last longer than 60 minutes. Great choices encompass bars, sports drinks and/or granola. Make sure that you keep each snack light, although, so that you don’t allow yourself a stitch in your side or – alternatively – stomach troubles as you exert yourself.

For shorter routines in which the emphasis will be on strength training, increase the ratio of protein to carbs. This doesn’t mean that carbohydrates are a no-no for these types of workouts, however you should think about including peanut butter on that bagel or making pancakes with whey protein or – alternatively – cottage cheese.

In addition, fat provides fuel for workouts however be smart about the types you choose. Olive oil and nuts are instances of good types of fats. For heart health, you should limit saturated fats — the kind which is found in mayo, red meat and full-fat dairy products. Remember that fats digest slowly, which can divert the energy you require for exercise and sit in your belly longer which may result in a less-than-ideal workout.

Of course, it needs to go without saying that you need to be hydrating during the day, during your meals, as you prep for your workout, in addition to while you exercise.

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