It may seem strange, but exercise can really help improve your digestive health. That doesn’t mean preparing your body to run a marathon, it’s about taking simple steps every day to better health.
Carrying excess weight around the midriff can really affect the digestive system. This extra weight can put pressure on the stomach, squashing food mixed with stomach acid back into the gullet – which can cause heartburn. And if this is left untreated can cause painful ulceration. In addition, constipation has been linked to obesity.
Regular exercise can not only help you lose weight, but it can relax you and make you feel good. And this can have knock on effects on your gut too. But how should you do it? Help is at hand from personal trainer Sophie Christy, and whatever the time of year she’s asking you to think about your VEST!
V = Vary your exercise
E = Everyday routines can include exercise
S = Step to it and check your exercise rates with a pedometer
T = Thirty minutes, five times a week.
Click on the letters to get more information
Varying your exercise is one of the best ways to keep you interested but also helps provide different health benefits. Combine anaerobic exercise such as weight bearing exercises with aerobic activities such as housework or walking. And flexibility exercises such as yoga and Pilates are great at keeping you supple.
Thinking about doing exercise five times a week can be hard. Automatically you think you have to go to the gym, but actually there are lots of things we do every day which can help burn calories. Try walking instead of driving when you go to the shops or visit friends and when out and about use the stairs instead of the escalators. Challenge yourself when doing the housework, can you vacuum more quickly, or polish more vigorously? Or can you try core stability exercises in front of the TV or do twenty minutes of jogging on the spot?
Walking around every day can add to your fitness routine. But are you getting around enough? Experts recommend taking 10,000 steps a day to avoid leading a sedentary lifestyle, so invest in a pedometer which will measure the number of steps you take. It’s a great way for monitoring your exercise rates and they can be quite cheap to purchase – so step to it!
Thirty minutes of exercise, five times a week can seem a little daunting. But thirty minutes only actually equates to 3% of your day – now is that so hard to fit in? It doesn’t need to be the same time or activity every day, but do try and fit the time in – even doing something is better than nothing at all.
But don’t exercise after your meals. Relaxation stimulates the vagus nerve and facilitates digestion. If you eat on the run or exercise within two hours of eating a meal, then not only will you feel sluggish, but the exercise will inhibit digestion causing digestive symptoms such as nausea or abdominal cramping.