As a runner, I’ve often wondered about the benefits of chewing gum while pounding the pavement. So, I decided to delve into the topic and see if there’s any truth to the idea that chewing gum can actually help improve running performance.
The Theory Behind Chewing Gum and Running
It’s been suggested that chewing gum while running can help enhance performance in several ways. First, some claim that it can help increase focus and concentration, leading to improved running form and efficiency. Additionally, chewing gum may also stimulate saliva production, which could help keep the mouth and throat moist during longer runs. Some proponents also believe that the repetitive motion of chewing can help distract from feelings of fatigue and discomfort during intense workouts.
Scientific Research and Findings
While the anecdotal claims sound promising, scientific evidence on the direct benefits of chewing gum for running performance is limited. However, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition did find that gum chewing had a positive impact on aspects of running performance. The researchers reported that runners who chewed gum for the first 3.5 miles of a 10-mile run experienced faster overall times and perceived less exertion compared to non-chewing counterparts.
Considerations and Practical Application
It’s important to note that individual responses to chewing gum while running may vary. Some runners may find it beneficial in terms of maintaining focus and reducing perceived exertion, while others may find it distracting or uncomfortable. Additionally, the type of gum and the act of chewing itself could potentially cause jaw fatigue or discomfort for some individuals.
My Personal Experience
After conducting my own experiments, I found that chewing gum did seem to help keep my mind focused and my mouth from drying out on longer runs. However, during intense speed workouts, I noticed that it became a bit of a distraction. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and individual response.
So, does chewing gum help running? While the scientific evidence is not yet conclusive, there does seem to be some merit to the idea based on anecdotal reports and limited research. As with many aspects of running, the best approach is to experiment and see what works best for you as an individual. Whether it’s for the perceived mental boost or the potential relief from a dry mouth, chewing gum might just be a helpful addition to your running routine.