If you’re feeling gassy and bloated, there’s no need for you to wait to feel better. Moving around when you experience gas pains and stomach distention from bloating can help you feel better quickly! Learn how exercise and your digestive tract are connected, as well as some simple exercises and stretches to relive gas and bloating.
How are Gas and Bloating Related to the Digestive System?
One of the most common causes of bloating and gas is what you eat. While gas in your stomach is generally caused by swallowing air when you eat or drink, it’s commonly released when you burp.1 But in other cases, gas forms in your large intestine when your body’s natural bacteria can cause certain carbohydrates to ferment.1 Typically, this intestinal gas buildup is released in the form of flatulence, but if it’s trapped in your digestive system, it may cause pain and discomfort.
One reason for this buildup may be what’s referred to as slow transit constipation, where the muscles of the pelvic floor can use some toning up so that they work harmoniously to expel waste from your body.2 The bacteria in your colon is meant to digest food and create stool, but if your digestive system isn’t removing the waste as it should, the bacteria creates an excess of gas.2 This can cause sharp or uncomfortable pains and bloating.
Thankfully, one way that you can help manage the amount of gas in your intestines and kick-start your digestion is through exercise.
Exercises and Stretches that May Help Relieve Gas and Bloating
In addition to eating enough fiber and drinking enough water, regular exercise with a focus on core strength can help keep the bloat at bay.3 Not only that, but exercise helps to prevent water retention, which keeps your bowels moving and keeps gas from building up in your large intestine. Even mild physical activity can help with gas retention and bloating.4
Try these exercises to strengthen your core and relieve pain caused by bloating:5
- Planks. This exercise works the core, arms and shoulders. The trick is to keep your back flat while staying as still as you can. Stabilize yourself by contracting your core muscles. You have the option to start on your hands and knees, hands and toes or toes and elbows.
- Opposite arm and leg raise. This move is also known as a bird-dog and is completed by kneeling on all fours with a neutral neck and spine. Extend your left leg behind you while reaching in front of you with your right arm. Use your core to keep your body stable and keep the raised limbs parallel to the floor. Hold for a beat and release.
- Bridge. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms at your sides. Lift your glutes and hips off the floor and contract your core muscles and hold this position before releasing.
While some muscle groups require rest in between workouts, your core doesn’t require the same kind of recovery period, so you can work on strengthening these muscles every day.5 Make sure you’re warming up and gradually increasing the number or repetitions you complete.5
Research shows that walking for about a half hour every day at a reasonably brisk pace can lead to long-term health benefits.6 With improved cardiovascular health, reduced cholesterol, and stress reduction as some of its primary benefits, walking is an excellent way to help burn calories and kick-start your digestion.6 As with all exercise, it’s smart to start slow and with short distances, and increase your speed and mileage as you improve.6
There are a number of positions and postures in yoga that can apply pressure to internal organs, helping to naturally relieve discomfort from gas and bloating. Not only will these poses provide a gentle stretch for your muscles, but they can help relieve pressure points and make you feel more comfortable.
While physical activity has tremendous benefits, you can also find relief by trying Gas-X Extra Strength Chewables. With active ingredients that help break down gas bubbles, you can get through your day without pressure and bloating.
- Gas and gas pains. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/symptoms-causes/syc-20372709#. Accessed 5/17/23.
- Constipation, Flatulence, Burping, and More: Is Something Wrong? Yale Medicine. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/common-gastrointestinal-issues. Accessed 5/17/2023.
- Bloated Stomach. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21740-bloated-stomach#. Accessed 5/17/2023.
- Physical activity and intestinal gas clearance in patients with bloating. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17029608/. Accessed 5/17/2023.
- The best core exercises for older adults. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-best-core-exercises-for-older-adults. Accessed 5/17/2023.
- Sole Searching: Learning About the Health Benefits of Walking. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-walking/. Accessed 5/17/2023.