Exercises for Good Digestive Health
4 easy ways to keep your digestive system in check.
It’s widely accepted that exercise has a ton of health benefits. Among plenty of other things, it can help with blood circulation and managing your weight, and it's a great pick-me-up when you're feeling sluggish or stressed out. But did you know that exercise can also help your digestive system run more smoothly?1
Try these easy exercises to help promote overall good digestive health.
1. Breathe Deeply
When you're busy, stressed out, and not taking enough time for yourself, your muscles may become tense and tight. Deep breathing can help you relax, and this may help relieve digestive issues such as occasional constipation.2 Concentrate on how you're breathing and allow yourself to breathe from the diaphragm—not from the chest. You may feel calmer and more balanced. Try inhaling through your nose, and then exhaling through your mouth. The best part about this exercise is that you can do it pretty much anytime, anywhere.
2. Take a Walk
Walking can be one of the best exercises you can do because it's as easy as going outside, and it fits into your everyday life. If you keep moving, digestion tends to keep moving, too, so it's important to make time for walking. Find excuses to go outside, and opt for taking a stroll to the store instead of driving. Of course, dogs are your best friend when it comes to keeping a walking routine, and you can get more exercise by extending your route a few extra blocks. Exercising helps you stay fit and healthy—and your digestive system will thank you for it.
3. Break a Sweat
Aerobic exercise is great for helping digestion, not to mention your overall health. You'll want to pick exercises that challenge you, but also enjoyable enough that you'll keep doing it. Running and bicycling are popular athletic activities, but there are other options as well—including basketball, tennis, soccer, swimming, and golf (don't forget to carry your own clubs!) These popular activities bust stress, build endurance, and help your digestive system run smoothly.
4. Enlist a Partner
Sometimes it helps to exercise with a friend or family member who can help you stay on track. Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, suggest a long walk or another physical activity instead. You can keep each other motivated and spend quality time while exercising. Not only can your digestive health improve because of the exercise you're doing, but being social can help lift your mood.
Check your local area for clubs and groups that play team sports on weekends. You can also sign up for exercise classes at your gym or community center. Take a yoga class or try kickboxing to meet new people, learn new skills and get your digestive system and whole body healthy.
- "Digestive Diseases." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases.
- McDonald-Legg, Christina. "Breathing Exercises for Constipation." Livestrong. 16 Oct. 2015. Web. http://www.livestrong.com/article/160608-breathing-exercises-for-constipation/.