Chewing Gum While Running: Yes, There Are Benefits!
As you are getting ready for a run, do you do the same things to prepare?
Some runners absolutely must have music to run and keep themselves moving. Other runners have a tried and true brand of socks they pull on each and every time.
Something that many runners have in common is they reach for gum every time they lace up.
- Does chewing gum while running have benefits?
- Are there certain types of gum that are better than others?
Chewing Gum While Running – What You Should Know
There are people with feet firmly planted in the camp that chewing gum while working out or on your easy runs is great and those who think you should not work out with gum in your mouth.
Are there true advantages?
Let’s talk about the logistics of chewing gum in general.
The most common health benefit is related to dental health and sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum has been linked to a reduction in cavities and plaque.
Gum helps to make your breath better, but it also assists in removing food and bacteria. It does this by stimulating saliva, which is nature’s way of washing the mouth.
After a meal, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes can help prevent tooth decay since chewing produces saliva. A piece of gum after a meal replaces brushing and flossing in a pinch.
There are also cognitive advantages to chewing gum. The benefits are related to episodic and working memory and speed of perception.
However, the improvements were only noted when chewing took place before cognitive testing.
The 5 Benefits of Chewing Gum While Running
Ask any runner known to pop gum in for a run, and they will be quick to enumerate the benefits of chewing gum while running.
The benefits include:
- Stress Relief: Having gum to chew on can help to relieve stress by giving you something to focus on. The physical act of chewing can relax your jaw, mouth, and neck.
- Stops Dry Mouth: Since chewing on gum stimulates saliva, it can help prevent the dreaded dry mouth that can accompany working out.
- Decrease Appetite: Now, none of us would be proponents of cutting calories while out on a long run. If you need to take in fuel, you should do that. However, chewing gum helps some people curb their appetite, which is helpful if one of your workout goals involves weight loss.
- Improved Blood Flow: Research shows that chewing gum lets blood flow more quickly and efficiently to your muscles, thereby helping your muscles take in the oxygen and nutrients of your blood faster; this can indirectly help your athletic performance.
- Focus: Chewing gum helps you better focus on tasks at hand because of its benefit on cognitive areas of the brain.
The 4 Disadvantages of Chewing Gum While Running
- Choking Danger: One thing to consider is that running (or completing any workout, really) while chewing gum could be a choking hazard. Always be careful.
- Artificial Sweeteners: If you are chewing sugarless gum, which is best for your teeth, you need to be cognizant of the fact that artificial sweeteners can make some people nauseous.
- Breathing: Chewing gum while you run could adversely impact your breathing patterns and therefore your heart rate. Be aware of that and stay in tune with your body.
- Nausea: Running and chewing gum can cause gastro issues for some people, no matter the brand or ingredients. If you find yourself with stomach issues while running, try ditching the gum and see if that makes a difference.
The Best Chewing Gum
Wondering if some brands of chewing gum are better for during your workout than others?
These are our favorite options!
1. Run Gum
This bubblegum has the word run right in the game, so how can you not be tempted to try it?
With zero calories or sugar, it does pack a punch of 100 mg of caffeine per serving. This might be the kick you need to power through a challenging workout or long run. It’s almost as good as a gel or an energy drink!
Available by the bucket, this gum’s name says it all.
Quench is an electrolyte-packed gum to help you stay hydrated during a workout as well as run faster.
Neuro gum is the self-proclaimed key to giving an athlete the energy levels needed to get you to your big goals.
The gum is formulated with caffeine, L-theanine, and B-vitamins that they say will increase your mental endurance to stay focused on your goals.
Standing for Military Energy Gum, this gum has caffeine and other ingredients to help boost your energy for the long haul.
Another energy gum, Jolt gives you the same caffeine as 5 cups of coffee and adds guarana, which increases energy and mental alertness.
Should You or Shouldn’t You?
Chewing gum on your run might help nominally, but it can’t possibly hurt. There were no differences in one flavor over another in all the studies, so if you are a cinnamon gum person over a spearmint/peppermint gum fan, there is no need to change to a minty flavor.
The one consistent item is that sugar-free is the ideal way to go.
However, if you do crave some full sugar gum – a piece of Bubble Yum every now and then won’t kill you.
So go ahead and pop that stick of gum for your run and blow your competition out of the water.
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