Whether you’re suffering from a chronic digestive problem or looking to relieve yourself from bloating after a nice meal, it takes more than drinking a cup of herbal tea to maintain your digestive health.
There is a strong correlation between exercise and digestion. It is proven that regular exercise improves your overall digestive health, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. The more you move, the more you become active inside! But it can be tricky to find the right activity or exercise to aid digestion, especially if you suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder.
Here are the best exercises for the digestive system:
Walking is a simple and moderate exercise that can ease the symptoms of IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease). It’s recommended for patients with IBD because exercise eventually helps fight against IBD-related complications by enhancing your bone mineral density, immune response, and gut microflora, as well as helping the reverse loss of muscle mass and strength. Walking is also recommended to improve IBD complications and your general quality of life. Since strenuous exercise can worsen symptoms of IBD, walking can be the best exercise for digestion and constipation.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, you should start taking easy walks once a day and go for longer periods as you progress. Walking speeds up the time, it takes for food to move from the stomach to the small intestine, making it one of the best exercises for good digestion.
At the same time, it’s possible to take walks yet get nothing out of it. So it’s important to take note of the following tips:
- Walk with your arms swinging freely
- Step from heel to toe
- Make sure you are aware of your posture and keep a straight back
- Wear shoes with good arch support and thick and flexible soles.
- Buy a treadmill or hit the gym if you don’t like walking outdoors
- Set a schedule to plan your route
- Pick up the habit the next day if you miss a day of walking.
According to the Gastrointestinal Society, yoga is among recommended exercises for the digestive system. It can enhance regular and healthy bowel movements. It is also a spiritual and healthy practice. All the poses, meditation, and breathing significantly improve your mental health and physical well-being. That’s why yoga can be counted as a good practice of stretching for digestion.
A study in 2019 showed that with yoga practice, people with inactive and mild Crohn’s disease had lower levels of stress and improved quality of life without any adverse effects.
Most of the poses in yoga are safe, but you could hurt yourself if you don’t know how to do them correctly. So, it’s important to start with a few poses daily. If you have no idea how to begin, download several apps or watch videos online on yoga for beginners.
If you prefer practicing yoga with others or in a group, you can simply sign up for yoga classes. This would also help you make sure that you do the poses correctly. Yoga classes typically last 60-90 minutes. Here are some resources to get you started and tips to keep in mind:
- Find an instructor: You can easily find a yoga instructor from the IDEA association for health and fitness
- Make sure your yoga teacher is registered: You can check whether they’re certified with the Yoga Alliance database
- Daily yoga- workout and fitness: Your mobile app offers guided step-by-step yoga instructions. You can also gain inspiration from other students.
Core exercises improve digestion and are necessary for a stronger back and abdominal muscles. It is especially important to perform core exercises to avoid back injuries. You can try core exercises, are sit-ups, planks, and abdominal crunches. If you’ve never tried them before, you can hire a personal trainer to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, you can download apps like:
- Fitness Buddy: This app contains training and fitness plans that are grouped into different categories.
- 12-minute seated core workout: This is a video that provides you with step-by-step instructions for the seated exercise. They are the best if you’re looking to improve your core muscles.
- Orbit: Unlimited 1:1 access to your very own certified expert health coach.
- Daily AB workout: This mobile app is specifically for abs fitness. With it, you work your abs daily for 5 minutes. There are also videos to show you the correct way to do the exercises.
Some healthy habits for better digestive health
Consume foods high in fiber
Eating meals that are rich in fiber like legumes, vegetables, and fruits can significantly improve your digestive health. They are also recommended for treating several digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis. Fiber-rich foods also help you achieve and maintain a balanced and healthy weight.
Always stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is incredibly important because it helps digest foods more quickly and easier and relieves your digestive organs.
Moreover, drinking enough water helps create softer and bulkier stool so that you can easily pass bowel movements.
Have trouble drinking enough water daily? Here are some alternative solutions and delicious smoothie recipes to keep you hydrated. Read more.
Choose lean meats
Though protein is essential to a healthy diet, it can be difficult for your organs to digest. Opt to eat more lean meats like skinless poultry to relieve your digestive system.
Stop smoking and quit alcohol and caffeine
When you smoke or consume liquor and coffee, your digestive system is affected and makes you more prone to problems like heartburn and stomach ulcers. It’s best to avoid them completely.
Eat less fatty foods
Generally, fatty foods slow down digestion and cause constipation. It is therefore important to limit your intake of them.
Eat on time
Late-night meals can drastically mess up your digestive system. Learn to sit down and properly eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the recommended times. In addition, rushing meals isn’t advisable. So to keep your digestive organs in the best shape, eat regularly.
Aside from improving your digestion, exercise is critical for supporting your overall wellness. It can help improve your mental health and keep your body in the best shape. Start exercising today if you haven’t already!
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