Stomach bloating: Low-impact exercise to improve gut health and reduce stress & symptoms

Easy Ways to Live Well: Steph McGovern discusses bloating

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Stomach bloating is the uncomfortable condition when a person has finished with a meal, but the meal has not quite finished with them. The stomach tends to swell causing painful accompanying symptoms. Bloating is both uncomfortable and unsightly and when the condition hits, exercise can often be the last thing on your mind. However, exercise has been proven to help relieve symptoms of bloating and this low-impact exercise has proven to be best.

Yoga can help a person to release any trapped air they may be suffering with due to stomach bloating.

Yoga aids in relaxation throughout the entire body and by relaxing the body, especially the bowels and intestines, it can help a person to pass gas and reduce bloating symptoms.

Benefits of yoga include improving digestion, making pelvic muscles stronger and releasing any trapped wind which may be causing your bloat.

Reduce stress reduce bloat

Stress can negatively impact on the gut and might result in digestive symptoms such as constipation, but studies indicate our gut microbiota can help control our body and our brain’s response to stress by producing positive substances like neurotransmitters that signal to the brain all is well, said Eve Kalinik, nutritional therapist and functional medical practitioner and author of Happy Gut, Happy Mind.

She added: “Gentle yoga may help to alleviate digestive symptoms such as gas and bloating.

“The postures are one thing but essentially yoga is a breathing practice and it’s the deep belly [diaphragmatic] breathing that supports the vagus nerve and the gut/brain connection.”

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In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, yoga as a remedial therapy for irritable bowel syndrome was investigated.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms manifesting as a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder in which patients experience abdominal pain, discomfort, and bloating that is often relieved with defecation, noted the study.

It continued: “Yoga, a traditional mind-body-breath discipline, was derived from India about 3,500 BC. 

“There is a vast amount of literature available, listing the benefits of Yoga, among which, a few studies are alluded to, including IBS and yoga.”

The study concluded that yoga modality is envisioned from the cost effectiveness in managing IBS and its related comorbidities like anxiety, depression, bloating and fatigue.

Some of the best yoga poses to help relieve your bloating symptoms include:

  • Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose or Diamond Pose)
  • Child’s Pose
  • Seated forward bend
  • Seated Twist
  • Spinal Twist
  • Wind Pose
  • Bridge Pose
  • Half-bound Squat
  • Cat Cow pose
  • Modified Cobra Pose
  • Legs Up the Wall
  • Arching Pigeon pose

A healthy weight can also help relieve digestive symptoms such as heartburn and other acid related-stomach complaints, says the NHS.

It is important to drink plenty of water before and after exercise. Dehydration can make constipation worse.

If the bloating persists however, consult your doctor. It could be a sign of a more serious condition.

According to the NHS: “Bloating, and a persistent feeling of fullness are key symptoms of ovarian cancer.”

It’s important to monitor your bloating symptoms and if persistent, speak with a healthcare professional.
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