For, both, patients suffering from gastroenterological conditions and healthy individuals, good digestion is a vital indicator of health or recovery. Many adjust their dietary practices to ensure that this takes place without difficulty.
In addition to incorporating healthy food into daily meals, regular exercise is similarly beneficial for the easier digestion of food. Similar to a good diet, exercise benefits the whole body and almost all aspects of its functioning.
Today’s post examines the specific ways in which exercise can assist individuals to maintain good digestion. For patients suffering from serious medical conditions, consulting a medical professional is necessary before rigorous exercise regimens are undertaken.
Increased blood flow is one of the short-term benefits of exercise for digestion. With the body in motion, this is a natural phenomenon, increasing blood circulation to all parts of the body, including the digestive tract.
Exercise also raises the heart rate, reducing intestinal sluggishness by stimulating muscles. This helps push digestive waste through an individual’s body.
A study carried out in 2018 by the University of Gothenburg demonstrated that an increased in physical activity improved certain gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
Other studies have shown that exercise may even prevent constipation, given that a sedentary lifestyle can slow down digestion. It can also reduce the risk of heartburn, gas, stomach cramps, diverticular disease and colon cancer.
Given the way physical activity affects the digestive tract, metabolism is a factor that’s directly impacted by exercise.
For individuals that practice regular cardio, metabolism rates are likely to increase. In these scenarios, the digestive system works hard and calories burn faster. This lasts for the duration of the workout.
Laboratory studies done in this area have shown that exercise can alter bacterial composition in the digestive system. This was confirmed in a study done on rats, which showed that physical activity can benefit rodents with different body weights.
Another study in 2014 investigated human athletes and their microbiota composition. It was discovered that athletes had higher proportions of microorganisms compared to non-athlete control subjects. This difference demonstrated itself in terms of improved metabolic and inflammatory markers. These are signs of good health.
Apart from exercises, the study demonstrated that diet also plays an important role in this process.
According to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, cardiovascular exercise strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and stimulates the intestinal muscles to move food through the digestive system.
Yoga poses may increase blood flow to the digestive system. The inherent strengthening and stretching of muscles that take place may also assist with digestion.
This type of activity must be done with precision and patience. Poses must be held for some time and individuals must focus on their breath as they perform yoga poses.
For individuals recovering from certain illnesses or those who cannot undertake strenuous physical activity, guidance must be sought from professionals before these exercises are performed.
Aerobic exercises increase blood flow to organs and draw blood to the gastrointestinal tract. This results in stronger intestinal contraction and an increased level of digestive enzymes.
Breathing exercises eliminate toxins from the body and ensures good digestion within individuals who practice it regularly.
Good digestion does not take place by default. Given the food that individuals consume on a daily basis and their unhealthy lifestyle practices, digestive health needs to be ensured through regular exercise.
Improved blood circulation, metabolism, and the diversity of gut microbiota ensure that individuals maintain good health and prevent the onset of a range of gastroenterological conditions.
For further information and advice on how to ensure good digestion, individuals can schedule a consultation with Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah - a leading interventional gastroenterologist and hepatologist in Sydney.
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