Your digestive system includes your stomach, intestines and bowels. It is responsible for breaking down the food you eat into the nutrients and energy your body requires to operate. These intricate systems can get bogged down by lifestyle or diet choices, which can cause them to work less efficiently. Exercise may help support healthy digestion and allow your body to absorb nutrients more effectively so you look and feel your best.
Keep It Moving
Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, which includes your digestive system. Keep your body moving with regular exercise, and you can keep your digestive tract moving, too. A consistent exercise routine that may help you avoid a sluggish digestive system can also help you avoid constipation, in addition to any accompanying gas, bloating and cramps.
Yoga for Digestion
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that focuses on stretching and bending the body into poses that can affect the flow of energy in the body for some practitioners. The Lotus Natural Health and Rejuvenation Clinic in Edmonds, Washington recommends gentle twisting yoga poses to increase blood flow to the bowels, reduce inflammation and gastritis, and strengthen the intestines. An example is the Seated Twist. Sit on the floor with your spine straight and your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your left leg to bring your left foot over your right knee, and place it on the floor. Inhale deeply as you face center, slowly twist your upper back to your left side as you exhale and hold the position for at least 10 seconds. Inhale as you release to face back to the front.
Take It Easy
Even though moderate, well-timed exercise can help improve your digestion overall, it's important to remember your body's limitations. It's generally not a good idea to train hard immediately following a large meal. Exercising on a full stomach can cause cramps, nausea or vomiting. If you've recently eaten a substantial meal, stick to a light workout such as a brisk walk. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, walking is a safe, low-impact exercise with many health benefits.
Fuel Your Routine Well
Exercise is crucial to your body's overall health, but diet is also an important factor, especially with regard to your digestive health. Eat healthy, fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit your intake of heavy, fatty foods. Drink plenty of water, especially before, during and after a workout. Exercise can dehydrate your body as you sweat, which can deplete your digestive system of the water it needs to function at optimum levels.