If You're Bloated After A Workout, This Could Be Why

You may feel a lot of things after a workout, from soreness and fatigue to a rush of adrenaline. And according to Healthline, there is another post-workout condition that is also considered normal: bloating. 

Johns Hopkins Medicine describes bloating as "a condition where your belly feels full and tight." It is typically caused by gas, but can also be the result of constipation, gut sensitivity, or gynecological conditions. Feeling bloated after a workout, when you're supposed to feel accomplished and strong, may not seem to make any sense, but it's not unheard of. And while that bloated feeling after exercising can be uncomfortable, physical therapist Patrick Griffith told Healthline that it typically does not indicate a cause for concern. It may not even be directly due to the activity you chose or how you are working out.

If you usually experience bloating after a high-impact exercise session, here are several reasons why it could be happening and what you can do to reduce the discomfort.

Causes of post-workout bloating

Speaking to Byrdie, registered dietician Erin Palinski-Wade said bloating is most likely to occur in those who breathe through the mouth while working out. "It isn't the workout itself causing bloat but a result of breathing technique and/or digestion." Registered dietician Cynthia Sass said that act of swallowing air while trying to catch your breath as you exercise is what causes it to become trapped in your gastrointestinal tract. The result? A bloated stomach (via Health).

Eating a high-protein, high-fat, or high-fiber meal immediately before hitting the gym is another likely cause of post-workout bloating because the digestive process slows down during strenuous activity. "These foods take time to digest and you need adequate blood flow in the GI system to promote efficient digestion," registered dietician Nora Minno said (via Byrdie).

So while it seems post-workout bloating is unavoidable in many circumstances, there are ways to get rid of the extra gas or lessen the discomfort when it affects you.

Tips for reducing exercise-induced bloating

Fueling your body with the right foods pre- and post-workout is key. According to Healthline, you can alleviate bloating by "sticking to simple carbs and proteins, and avoiding sugar, alcohol, and carbonated drinks."

And while retention from drinking too much water can also lead to bloat, too little water can cause dehydration and produce the same effect (via Healthline). The key is to find the right balance. An easy way to know how much to drink, according to Dr. Matthew Olesiak, chief medical director of SANESolution, is to weigh yourself before and after your workout. "In general, you'll want to drink about three cups of water for every pound lost," he said. You can also fight water retention by resting your body between intense days of activity, according to LiveStrong. Recovery day workouts such as yoga and stretching "boosts muscle repair while moving blood and H2O in and out of your tissues."

Bloating after exercising can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, the condition isn't permanent and can go away on its own with no major special treatments other than eating healthy food, maintaining balanced hydration, and getting adequate rest