Updated: Mar 10, 2022
We know that eating the right foods gives our bodies the fuel we need for movement, but did you know that that movement can aid our digestion? Eating and sleeping well, play a big role in aiding healthy digestion, but movement is very important too.
Out digestive processes are normally finely tuned and schronised, but if something is 'off key' our gut certainly lets us know and can trigger heartburn, upset stomach and bloating.
4 top tips that can help:
Tip 1: Go for a walk after eating.
Even if it's just for 10 minutes, this speeds up the time it takes for food to travel from the stomach to the small intestines, which can help you feel more comfortable sooner. Research shows, that post meal walks also has an affect on blood sugar levels and can reduce acid reflux, since digestion is faster. So how soon after a meal should we slip on the trainers? After a very rich/ heavy meal, wait about an hour, but after a small light meal or snack, you can head out pretty much as soon as you like.
Tip 2: Get your sweat on!
Cardio activities like jogging, swimming, HIIT, cycling, supports your digestive health by keeping your blood moving. With proper circulation, blood flows to all of your organs, including the organs of our digestive system which promotes stronger contractions of your digestive muscles and promotes the production of more digestive enzymes, which help your body break down food into absorbable nutrients
Tip 3: Stretch
Stretching, especially our abdominal muscles, can help you digest in a couple of different ways; Firstly, the actual act of stretching your core muscles, helps them relax and this can prevent and help symptoms like bloating and acid reflux. Stretching can also help relieve tension and stress, both of which are common causes of digestive problems, as well as many other health issues. So giving your body time to stretch, can be beneficial, not only for digestion, but for our overall well being. Try stretches that are not too physically demanding that stretch or twist your mid section, and that you don't feel uncomfortable doing it. Gentle yoga is a great way to start.
Tip 4: Be mindful of timing!
We all have heard that you shouldn't go swimming after eating and there is some truth in this. So although, some physical activity, such as walking helps digestion, you do need to be careful about eating too much too close to a workout. Normally when you eat, your blood flow is directed to your gut to help digest the food, but if you begin to exercise too vigorously after eating, your blood flow will be redirected towards your heart and other muscles. This then leaves the gut unable to properly digest your food and can lead to heartburn or an upset stomach. So its advisable to eat an hour before physical activity or even longer, if it's been a large meal.
Tip 5: Keep hydrated
Dehydration is another common cause of poor digestion and gastrointestinal issues. Aim to drink at least 2 litres of clear fluid every day.
Of course, our bodies are all so different, but do try out some of these tips and see if any of them work for you. As with any health issue, if bloating, indigestion or other digestive issues persist then do seek advice from your GP.