Exercise & Digestion
Working out your intestinal muscles
Have you ever noticed that after a great workout you sometimes have to hustle to the bathroom? There's good reason for it – getting your heart pumping helps increase blood flow and oxygen circulation throughout your body. Blood and oxygen are necessary to aid in digestion and keep muscles (even those in your intestines) healthy. So, when you're working on your abs, triceps and hamstrings – you're also giving your intestinal muscles a workout, which gets things moving, and may result in a visit to the bathroom.
While any exercise that gets your blood pumping or massages your abdominal organs will help move things along, there are a few that can help target your digestive system.
The Best Exercises for Your Digestive System
Regular cardiovascular exercise like walking, running and cycling, helps strengthen abdominal muscles. Getting your heart rate up on a regular basis reduces intestinal sluggishness by stimulating your muscles to push digestive waste through your body.
Certain Yoga poses, like the seated spinal twist, increase blood flow to the digestive system and massage your abdominal organs. To do the seated spinal twist, sit on the floor with your left leg straight out in front of you. Bend your right leg and cross it over your left, planting your right foot firmly on the floor. Twist your torso to face right, and place your left elbow on the outer side of your right knee. Use your elbow to twist even further to the right, if you can. Take five deep breaths while in this position, then switch sides and repeat. If anything causes you pain, discontinue this exercise.
This ancient Chinese practice improves the nervous system, which, in turn improves the internal functioning of your organs. Tai chi incorporates many circular movements and slow movements of the spine, which has the effect of massaging the digestive organs. Tai chi is specially noted for being able to relieve constipation.
Published: February 1, 2012