Running every day for the past 3 and a half weeks has started to take its toll. I don’t feel as strong as I did in MODRUN Week 1 and 2. True, it’s hard to pinpoint any one cause because there is so much going on. Last week, I was so busy I didn’t eat properly, or drink enough water. The result is that this week, I had a minor health issue, but more than that, I could feel my energy levels were low.
Do you monitor your body? I remember when Cameron Diaz was doing the talk show rounds for “The Body Book”, she said that just because you can chew it up and poop it out doesn’t make it food. Food is supposed to nourish our bodies and a lot of the things we put in our mouth to chew and poop out later, doesn’t really qualify as food. And over the past few days, I was feeling the effect of not eating well and not hydrating enough.
Another of my favorite TV personalities, Dr. Oz, frequently talks about how the poop is the indicator of your body’s health. Having grown up in a very conservative family in a very conservative society, I’ve never been a big fan of talking about poop. But like it or not, everybody has bowel movements and what your poop looks like can tell you or your doctor a lot about your physical health.
Dr Oz says the most healthy poop comes out as a moderately soft, S-shape. Anything else is a sign that you’re having an allergic reaction or not eating enough of something essential – hard, small pellets or cracked, cylindrical shape are signs of constipation. This means you need more water or more fiber in your diet. Just watching the animation on the Dr. Oz show is enough to make you want to change your eating habits.
Despite how much water your might drink, this is why runners get constipated.
Generally constipation means food is spending too much time in the digestive system, which leaches the water out so the waste gets progressively more dried out. Eating more fiber-rich foods helps to push the food through the digestive system so it doesn’t lose as much water.
And if you eat enough fiber, what else could be causing constipation?
Well, if you are getting a lot of exercise, your body needs water to hydrate the muscles and to break down the sugar to energize the muscles. If you don’t drink enough water, the water will be pulled from your food, again resulting in constipation.
Lots of runners deal with runners trots, the infamous loose bowels that plague people at races but constipation is a problem too.
Let’s do what we can to keep our bowels healthy. It’s hard to focus on becoming a better runner if our total health is compromised.