How Important Exercise is for Your Digestive System

We all know that exercise is great for overall fitness and emotional wellbeing. But it also plays a crucial role in keeping your digestive system running smoothly.

Keeping active relieves stress and helps maintain a healthy weight – two things that can affect digestion. It also helps relieve digestive complaints, such as constipation and bloating, and allows your body to absorb nutrients more effectively.

However, exercise can affect the digestive system in various ways, both positive and negative. In addition, different types of exercise have different effects on the digestive system.



Negative Effects

Exercise such as running can cause digestive disorders. Disorders such as nausea and diarrhea are common in women runners who train hard. Acute gastris and gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms are also common in runners.

Positive Effects

According to James and Phyllis Balch, in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” regular exercise improves digestion and elimination. According to the BBC exercise slows down the digestion system in order to conserve energy for the muscles. The Gastroenterological Society of Australia says cardiovascular exercise strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and stimulates the intestinal muscles to move contents through the digestive system.

Over time, regular exercise can strengthen your digestive tract. If you’re fit, the amount of blood diverted from your digestive system decreases because the need is less urgent. Your muscles are more efficient when you’re in shape.

Cautions When Exercising

Give your body the proper time to digest before exercising. If you eat a meal heavy in proteins and fats, you may need two or three hours for digestion. Your blood sugar rises to help you digest. Wait for it to drop back to normal, so you can devote all your energy to your workout.

A large meal, especially if it contains a lot of fat, can delay your digestion, which in turn should delay your exercise time. On the other hand, not eating anything before a workout will leave you feeling tired and weak. Unless it’s the day before a marathon, eat a balanced meal and give yourself time to digest before you exercise.

In addition, keep hydrated while you exercise. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of exercise-related problems. 

A regular exercise regime — along with a positive mental outlook and a healthy diet — are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle!

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