Healthy Living

Helpful Hints for Runners with Crohn’s or Colitis

Maintain electrolyte balance

When our bodies lose water, it carries with it electrolytes (such as sodium) that are needed to maintain our body’s proper functioning. Susan’s adviceis that its’ most important to keep your electrolytes in balance, especially when having GI issues.

Paul B. Bennett, Jr, Ph.D./Pharmacology informs us that “Muscle cramps are often symptoms of improper hydration and/or electrolyte balances.” And, that “Electrolytes are salts of various types, each of which play a critical role in physiology (bodily functions) and in athletic performance.” As guidelines, he tells us:

  • To drink when you’re thirsty
  • Athletes need about 0.5-1 liter of water for exercise longer that 1 hour.
  • Most athletes lose around 1000 mg. (1 gram) of sodium per hour, depending on how much they sweat. You do not and cannot replenish all of this, and attempting to do so may result in GI distress, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Most sports drinks contain around 20-60 mg. of sodium per 100 mL. (500 mg/liter).

Susan’s tips are to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Pay special attention to fluid intake, hydration, and electrolyte balance.

The pre-referenced JAMA report also concludes that “One study found up to 71% of long distance runners experience cramping or diarrhea, for physiologic reasons that include the diversion of blood flow to the muscles and to severe jostling of the intestines (when running”.