Stomach bloating describes what happens when too much gas fills up the gastrointestinal tract. Common symptoms include a swelling in the tummy and painful abdominal cramps. It usually follows a blowout meal. While cutting out gassy culprits is generally advised, exercise is another proven way to tackle the tummy swelling.
According to TV doctor Dr Oz, physical activity gives the digestive system the boost it needs to banish the bloat.
As he explained: “Rigorous cardiovascular exercise, such as running or aerobics, activates the sweat glands that release fluids that the body could be retaining.”
Even a 15-20 minute post-dinner stroll can help ease digestion, he said.
“Additionally, a workout is a huge stress-reliever; exercise can ease day-to-day pressures and prevent stress-eating, Dr Oz added.
Evidence backs the benefits of working out.
A 2006 study on bloating published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that physical activity helped participants move gas and ease their symptoms.
The researchers noted that anyone trying to ease gas and bloating should learn about the benefits of regular exercise.
They also found that for gas relief, people should limit the amount of time they spend lying back in a recumbent or horizontal position.
Exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles may also help to expel gas. “Weakness in the stomach muscles is a factor for bloating,” according to Lena Palmer, MD, gastroenterologist, assistant professor in the department of medicine, and medical director of nutritional services at Loyola University Chicago.
People who have a separation in their abdominal muscles, known as diastasis recti, or those who are recovering from abdominal surgery may have a harder time moving gas through their digestive system, Palmer explained.
“Exercise to strengthen the stomach muscles or walking to help move gas through could help,” she added.
According to the NHS, cutting down on known to cause wind and bloating can also help.
The main offenders are:
“But make sure you still eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day,” noted the health site.
Another simple self-help tip is to reduce air intake.
As the NHS explained, you can do this by:
- Not talking and eating at the same time
- Sitting down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over)
- Reducing the amount fizzy drinks consumption
- Stop chewing gum and chew with the mouth closed