T Nation

Why Do We Spit When Tired?

A friend of mine and I were trying to figure this out at lunch today. Why do we spit when we get tired? He was taught that in football; you could tell when the other team was getting tired from two signs, 1) they started putting their hands on their waists and leaning over, and 2) they started spitting.

I then realized that I carry a water bottle with me when I do energy systems work, and there is a point where I stop drinking the water and don’t want to swallow. I swish it around in my mouth and then spit it out.

The only thing I can think of is that the blood flow to the stomach and internal organs is reduced to provide more blood flow to the skeletal muscles in heavy exercise. Then the stomach doesn’t want to take in anything, including excess saliva. Any better ideas?

Very interesting topic.

When I spit during exercise it’s usually because my mouth accumulates a mucousy, foamy spit that I assume is coming partly from my respiratory system and it is not pleasant, nor easy to swallow. It could also be that the body is using it’s water stores to keep the muscles hydrated and diverts water away from saliva, making what spit is in your mouth, foamier. I usually rinse a little with the water, spit, then drink some water. I’m interested in a more scientific response from some of the qualified posters on T-Nation.


Perhaps it’s from nausea as well. I usually feel like spitting when I feel like I’m going to hurl.

[quote]Bri Hildebrandt wrote:
Perhaps it’s from nausea as well. I usually feel like spitting when I feel like I’m going to hurl.[/quote]

That happens to me also.

I am glad to see that I’m not the only one who wondered this. But I am surprised there is no definitive answer yet.

I don’t know the official answer or anything, but I would think that when we get tired we tend to breath a lot more which leads to a dry mouth. This will give you the cotton mouth feeling and make you want to spit. Just my guess!