Bloating can be caused by a range of factors but whatever the cause, the uncomfortable and sluggish feeling is almost always the same. Food intolerance, digestive problems and unhealthy habits can all cause bloating, so it is important to move your body regularly to avoid this uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your tummy. Exercise has been proven to mobilise digestion which can help to beat the bloat – and these are the three key movements to try to shift it.
What causes bloating?
Diet and eating habits have a direct effect on digestion which is responsible for bloating.
According to the medical website, Healthline, gas is the most common cause of bloating – especially after eating.
Gas can make its way into the digestive tract when undigested food gets broken down or when you swallow air.
Drinking fizzy drinks, smoking, mouth breathing or consuming food and drink too quickly are all known causes of excess gas in the digestive tract.
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What naturally reduces bloating?
Bloating can leave you feeling full and sluggish which can make it difficult to want to move your body.
While not all bloating is caused by a poor diet or a lack of exercise, moving your body can help relieve symptoms in most cases as it helps to mobilise the digestive process.
Walking off a heavy meal or a long day sitting at your desk in the office is always recommended to regulate digestion and bowel movements.
Mobilising your digestive tract can also prevent constipation which is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain and bloating according to the NHS.
While all forms of exercise can have a positive effect on your health and well being, there are three key movements to focus on to target bloating.
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Yoga is a slow-paced and adaptable form of exercise which is used to establish a ‘breath-to-body’ connection.
This holistic approach to your health and well being is effective at targeting internal issues through physical movements and controlled breathing exercises.
Yoga is particularly effective at combating stress-induced bloating and hormone flux because it is soothing and slow, making you feel calm and relaxed.
Smooth and controlled movements can aid digestion by moving blockages through your digestive tract.
Try the following yoga poses to beat bloating:
- Chair pose with a gentle abdominal twist
- Supine twist while laying on your back
- Cobra stretch
Pilates is a low-intensity exercise which focuses on relaxing and strengthening core muscle groups.
Similar to yoga this type of slow and controlled exercise focuses on breathing techniques to complement the elongated stretches and twists of the body.
Incorporate gentle twists and strengthening stretches which help to mobilise core abdominal muscles and relieve pressure on the stomach when feeling bloated.
Some of the most effective moves to try when using pilates to beat the bloat include:
- The teaser – sit down at a 90-degree angle and slowly elevate your legs straight up while bringing your core towards your legs and pulse
- Crisscross – also known as bicycle crunches, stretch your legs with pointed toes as you twist your core to touch opposing legs as you move
- Plank leg switches – get into a high plank position and raise your legs alternatively keeping a controlled form and tight core
If you’re feeling particularly uncomfortable when dealing with intense bloat, stretching is a great alternative to a pilates or yoga flow.
Bloating caused by food intolerance or menstrual cramps can be eased with some basic stretches which have a low impact on your muscles and a high impact on your gut.
Loosen up trapped wind, built-up gas and boost your circulation by laying on the floor and gently bringing your knees to your chest.
Drop your knees to one side of your body with your arms spread out for a soothing twist.
The key to stretching to reduce bloating is to be slow and controlled while mindfully breathing to reduce stress and inflammation.