I lost a lot of fitness over the Spring while I was battling a nagging hip inflammation issue. And it didn't simply translate to a decrease in miles, I basically neglected my core strength as well. My diet was poor, at best, and most ab & core workouts were very abbreviated. So when I started feeling healthy enough for long runs again, I immediately noticed that my posture, abdominal strength, and endurance were greatly affected. But I also noticed that my stomach seemed to be upset frequently during and after runs, something I typically don't struggle with. And it got me thinking ... does a strong core directly correlate to fewer GI stomach issues for runners?
After doing a little internet research on the topic, I'm not sure there's enough data or scientific evidence to support a direct correlation between weak abdominal & core muscles and stomach issues. I mean, I don't think we can say that a strong core automatically eliminates stomach and intestinal issues while running. I DID find a few articles here and there advocating a strong core to assist with good digestion - the reason relating mostly to increased blood flow throughout the abdominal muscles. And another site promoted core strength and good posture as a means to proper functioning of the intestinal tract. But overall, the information available seemed to make only generalized statements, with sparse specific biological or quantitative evidence supporting their statements.
So at this point, I think I would relate the recent stomach issues while running, which happened to occur over a period when my core was very weak, as causation. Follow my logic here ... probably the reason I usually don't struggle much with stomach issues while running because I try to keep my core in good running shape. Therefore, when my core is in good shape, I have less fat and flab around my midsection, which helps me run with a lower heart rate. And, in combination with strength workouts, I have less fat and flab around my midsection because I'm making better dietary choices. Ergo ... my body is not trying to burn Twinkies, chips, and hot dogs as energy ... but rather good efficient lean meats and fruits and vegetables, which would most likely eliminate a lot of the intestinal issues. So basically I think it's more a result of cause and effect, rather than a direct correlation ... kind of a "the core strength bone is connected to the healthy diet bone" type of thing. Does that make sense?
I find the whole subject interesting. It just seems that when I'm in better shape, I have fewer issues like these. And whether or not it's correlation or causation, I'm not exactly sure ... but I DO know it's all the more reason to maintain my fitness.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the issue.
... Be Great Today!