Stress­ing about the runs

Canadian Running - - THE SCIENCE OF RUNNING -

What re­searchers eu­phemisti­cally call “lower gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms” are an all-toocom­mon prob­lem for run­ners. Ac­cord­ing to a Univer­sity of Illi­nois study pre­sented at the ACSM meeting, 65.7 per cent of run­ners “some­times or of­ten” ex­pe­ri­enced lower GI symp­toms, and these symp­toms in­ter­fered with train­ing for 17.1 per cent of them.

An­other new study, from Pa­trick Wil­son of Old Do­min­ion Univer­sity, mon­i­tored the train­ing of 150 run­ners for a month and looked for pat­terns that might ex­plain un­wanted port-a-potty stops. One un­ex­pected find­ing was that self-re­ported stress and anx­i­ety were as­so­ci­ated with in­creased risk of GI symp­toms – a re­minder of the im­por­tance of con­sid­er­ing over­all health rather than fo­cus­ing on one or­gan or body part . Per­haps more en­cour­ag­ingly, the fre­quency of GI symp­toms de­clined with age and years of run­ning, sug­gest­ing that most of us even­tu­ally get bet­ter at avoid­ing foods and run habits that trig­ger GI dis­tress.

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