Exercise and Your Digestive Health

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.

Your digestive system includes your stomach, esophagus, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestines and bowels. Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down the food you eat into the nutrients and energy your body needs to function properly. The normal time for digestion of the food is usually 24 hours to 72 hours. Exercising helps to improve the digestion process.

IMG_1780.PNGExercise improves blood flow throughout the body (which includes your digestive system) so, if you 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.

There are several forms of exercise that really help you to strengthen your digestive system.

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1. Yoga
2. Aerobic exercises
3. Abdominal exercises

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 foods high in saturated fats. 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.

If you have digestive issues, consider adding exercise to your daily regimen. Remember to allow two hours after a meal before you exercise and do not exercise on a full stomach.

To learn more visit mayoclinic.org

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