Do you often suffer from digestive problems like gassy stomach or constipation? When those problems appear, our first instinct is look into what we eat, but did you know besides a healthy diet, regular exercise can also make your digestive system healthy? Just read on.
First of all, let’s learn more about our digestive system. The system is made up of the esophagus, the stomach, the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine and the large intestine. Normally the digestive process takes between 24 and 72 hours, so doing the right kind of exercise at the right time can improve the efficiency of the digestion.
Exercise such as riding a bike can help to reduce heartburn. Light exercise that increases breathing and heart rate can help to produce more efficient bowel movements. Some studies suggested cardiovascular exercise strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and stimulates the intestinal muscles to move contents through the digestive system.
While doing exercise can be good for digestive process, extreme exercise can cause negative effects on the digestive system. For example running can cause digestive disorders such as nausea and diarrhoea. Acute gastris and gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms are also common in runners. These negative is believed to be caused by the direct stimulation on the colon.
It’s also important to note that you cannot exercise on a full stomach, you should allow at least two hours after a meal before you work out. But of course, a large meal, especially one that contains a lot of fat, can delay your digestion, so you should adjust your exercise time accordingly. In addition, keep hydrated while you exercise because dehydration is one of the major causes of exercise-related gastrointestinal problems. It can lead to constipation, acid reflux, and even malnutrition when your intestines fail to absorb all the nutrients from the food in your system.
Light exercise such as yoga and Pilates can also improve digestive system functions by reducing stress and anxiety levels.
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