4 Surprising Bodily Responses to Running
Aside from strengthening your heart, lungs, and legs, running can also impact other bodily systems in not-so-pleasant ways. From bowel movements to runny noses, here are four surprising physical responses to running.
1. The Urge to Run... to the Restroom
Running creates a jostling motion in the body. This extra movement combined with increased blood flow can speed things along in your intestinal tract and cause runner’s diarrhea. Taking a bathroom pit-stop mid-run isn’t uncommon, but if you have to stop several times, talk with your primary care physician.
2. From “Shake a Leg” to “Shaky Legs”
From seasoned pros to beginners, shaky legs can happen to anyone. Shaky muscles can be a sign of fuel depletion or overexertion. While some involuntary muscle movement can be normal, it’s important to give your muscles time to acclimate during a run. Prevent the shakiness with proper stretching, a cool-down walk, and extra electrolytes post-run.
3. A Stitch in Time
Side cramps, or side “stitches,” can happen during a run due to the added stress on your diaphragm ligaments. “If you feel a tightening in your side, slow down and breathe deeply to ease the pain,” suggests Adel Massoud, MD, physician at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care South College Station. The more often you run, the more your ligaments will adapt to the stress.
4. Feet Aren’t the Only Things Running
Running can also cause an exercise-induced runny nose, known as rhinitis. As your breathing rate quickens, the increased airflow in your nasal passages can make your nose run. An over-the-counter nasal spray or an antihistamine can help treat rhinitis. If you suspect seasonal allergies, visit an ENT for diagnosis and treatment.
Despite these not-so-pleasant bodily responses, running can still be an excellent workout. Learn how to make the most of your runs with the CHI St. Joseph Health Run Club. If you have any concerns about symptoms you feel during or after a run, make an appointment to speak with a primary care physician or orthopedic specialist at CHI St. Joseph Health.
Runner's World | All of the Weird Ways That Running Affects Your Body
Healthline | Runner’s Diarrhea
Houston Chronicle | Shaky Legs When Running
LIVESTRONG | Does Exercise Cause Muscle Twitching?
Healthline | What’s Causing My Diaphragm Pain and How Can I Treat It?/a>
LIVESTRONG | Why Does My Nose Run When I Run?