Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and exercise

Most of us remember that physical activity has its list of current benefits. But did you understand that it could also help people with irritable bowel symptoms? 
Regular exercise can help improve digestion and strengthens the muscles around the abdomen. Exercise can help contents in the intestine to move more smoothly through the digestive system. 

Yoga and Pilates

Lighter exercises like yoga and pilates can improve digestive functions by reducing stress and anxiety levels and by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Furthermore, aerobic exercise can help to prevent constipation by stimulating our involuntary contracting muscles. This process helps move food through the intestines more smoothly.

Intensity of exercise

It is important to remember that, although there are many benefits of exercise for our gut, it can be harmful if done at extreme levels. Finding the right intensity of exercise is paramount for those who suffer from stomach issues. DeOliveria et.al did a study and stated. “Mild-to-moderate intensity exercises play a protective role against colon cancer, diverticular disease, cholelithiasis, and constipation, whereas acute strenuous exercise may provoke heartburn, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and even gastrointestinal bleeding.”  This study looked at athletes who performed a vigorous exercise. 70% of these athletes had dehydrated gastrointestinal symptoms that caused things like nausea and diarrhea. 

So what can you do to prevent bowel and gut discomfort during exercising? 

There are a few things to keep in mind. Do not exercise on a full stomach. If you have eaten a meal, allow one to two hours before embarking on your workout.  When you exercise right after eating, circulating blood will flow towards the heart and not the intestines, which could lead to bloating and constipation. 

To improve indigestion after a meal, take a short, slow-paced walk, which will help your food to digest and can even prevent symptoms of bloating. If walking is not your thing, try yoga or pilates. There are even yoga poses that are specifically designed to alleviate bloating. 

If you suffer from intestinal discomfort, do not fear exercise. Be aware of the different forms of activity that can help and those that could harm. Most importantly, have fun doing it!

If you want to understand more about your IBS you can book a  complementary no-obligation assessment with one of our experienced health coaches who can answer your questions. Call 613 230-0998, book online, or email info@ottawahilisticwellness.ca today! 

About the author

Dr. Stacia Kelly is a chiropractor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Clinic, located in centre town Ottawa. The clinic has over 15 different wellness practitioners. They work as a team and consider individuals symptoms to provide a real holistic approach, which enables them to identify and treat the underlying causes of your issues to give deep, long lasting healing.


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