We all know that exercise helps with a lot of things: circulation, weight management, mood. But exercise also helps with digestion.
According to WebMD, exercise “helps to stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles. Intestinal muscles that contract efficiently help move stools out quickly.” So when you move, your guts move, which helps keep everything regular.
But since it’s not always easy to get moving, we came up with three simple moves you can do just about anywhere that’ll still have a positive impact on your tummy.
It sounds simple, but breathing with intent can make a big difference in your digestive health. Take a few moments to sit up straight, and breathe slowly in and out, all the way to the top of your breath.
“Studies have…shown that breathing exercises that strengthen the diaphragm muscles may prevent reflux,” says gastroenterologist Ian Harnik, MD, to Everyday Health.
You can work your breathing into your regular schedule. If you set an alarm throughout the day to drink water or go for a walk, set aside two or three minutes for deep breathing. Or after you finish your lunch, take five deep breaths before heading back to work.
You put your knees to one side while turning your head the opposite way. That twists and stretches your intestines, which can help get things moving.
Lie down, hug your knees and inhale. As you exhale, drop your knees to the left, using your left hand to push them down gently. Then, turn your head and stretch your arm out to the right. Stay for five to ten breaths. Inhale, and return your hands and knees to center. Repeat on the other side.
Take a Walk
One of the best ways to help your food digest is to go for a walk after you eat. Nothing crazy or strenuous, just ten to 20 minutes of moving can keep your meal moving the way it should. A walk after your meal can also help improve your blood sugar.
“Researchers say that a post-meal stroll helps clear glucose from the bloodstream in part because more of it is taken up by the muscles,” says the New York Times.
Good digestion and lower blood sugar sounds like a win-win to us.