There’s no denying that exercise is both an essential and (usually) enjoyable component of living a healthy life.
That said–it has to be done right.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t properly informed, exercise can take an unhealthy toll on your body and do more harm than good.
If you already deal with digestive issues, you may be curious to know what exercise faux-pas can contribute negatively to your existing issues.
That’s why in this post, I’m going to share three exercise habits you should avoid if you want to maintain good digestion.
#1: Not Stretching After Core Exercises.
Core exercises–such as crunches, twists, sit-ups, and planks–can be great for digestion.
This is because they improve circulation for organs in the abdominal area and encourage regularity in your bowel movements.
That said, contraction-based exercises like these need to be balanced out with extension-based exercises, such as stretches.
Otherwise, the muscles involved in your digestive system will remain tight, causing issues with moving waste through your system.
Therefore, it’s critical to always stretch after doing contraction-based exercises.
Aim to incorporate yoga poses such as cat/cow or cobra as great post-core workout stretches.
#2: Forgetting to Breathe Properly.
Inhale… and exhale.
It sounds simple, but it’s extremely common to forget to really breathe while exercising.
By taking full and deep breaths, we deliver more oxygen to our blood, which means we receive more energy to exercise and can achieve better digestion.
Think of deep abdominal breathing as a way to massage your abdominal muscles, allowing you to relax more fully and improve the function of your digestive system.
Next time you find yourself holding your breath while lifting weights at the gym, make a point of releasing, and remember to take full and deep inhales and exhales.
#3: Not Drinking Water.
Whether running on a treadmill or taking a Zumba class, it’s not uncommon to find yourself sweating buckets while exercising.
What’s important is that you replace the loss of hydration from your body by drinking more water.
Many people suffer from chronic dehydration, and not replenishing lost fluids after exercise only makes it worse.
When our bodies are dehydrated, it draws water from the colon in order to hydrate other organs, such as our hearts.
This can often result in constipation, a result of too much water from our colon and stool being reabsorbed back into the body.
What to do about this?
Although it can vary based on gender, weight, height, and age, general guidelines recommend drinking…
- 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercising.
- Another 8 ounces during your warm-up (or 20 to 30 minutes before exercising).
- 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during exercise.
- 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes after exercising.
You can ensure that your efforts to improve your health don’t backfire by becoming aware of the three common habits above and practicing healthy exercise habits.
There are certain exercises that can be specifically beneficial if you want to improve your digestion. From yoga to Pilates, learn about a few of them in this post.