How we move our bodies has a great impact on our digestion.
First, it assists in stimulating the gut and increasing intestinal activity. Second, it increases blood flow to the muscles in the digestive system. This increased blood flow helps the muscles to work more quickly and effectively as it massages your food along the digestive tract. And lastly, research has shown that regular exercise can help balance the amount of good and bad bacteria in the gut or your gut flora. This gut flora balance plays an important role in protecting the immune system. By preventing the growth of bad bacteria and helping the body digest and absorb what it needs, our bodies are in prime condition to fight off foreign invaders and prevent disease. Fight disease by breaking a sweat!
On top of all the added physical health bonuses, exercising helps you feel good mentally and emotionally as well. When you exercise, the body releases endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline. These happy chemicals increase feelings of confidence and capability and decrease feelings of anxiety and stress. We’ve already discussed how stress affects the gut in one of my previous blogs in the series. If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check it out when you’re done here.
Starting an exercise routine doesn’t mean you have to buy a gym membership and be prepared to block out hours out if your week in order to see the benefits. Here are some great ways to get your body moving without spending much money or sacrificing a lot of your time.
Walking improves circulation, strengthens muscles, and supports your joints. It’s easy to do and doesn’t cost a thing. Aim for thirty minutes a day to get your heart rate up. You can also increase daily steps simply by parking farther away in the parking lot at work or the grocery store and taking the stairs instead of always hopping on the elevator.
The benefits of yoga are to improve flexibility and balance. You feel more relaxed after doing it because it helps relieve stress. It is the well-known way to improve your mental and emotional health. This is a great low impact way to exercise AND reduce stress. Win, win! You can find all kinds of free beginner yoga routines online. Most are only twenty minutes.
If you don’t feel like going to the gym or doing yoga, consider getting a rebounder (exercise trampoline). Rebounding is effective for lymphatic drainage. I suggest rebounding for at least 15 minutes per day. You can find great rebounders still in the box on Craigslist or purchase them on Amazon.
These are a great way to get the digestive system back on track. Strengthening the muscles in your abdomen help strengthen the bowel and intestines which increase movement. Ab exercises also help prevent digestive issues like gas and/or bloating. There are lots of simple, zero equipment ab routines online and most are only around ten minutes.
Lots of options here, and you can mix them all up to keep your exercise routine from getting boring. So, go get moving! You no longer have the excuse of no time and/or no money. Start small and increase your goals as you go. Just start! Grab a friend and hold each other accountable. If you can’t get anyone on board with you, then reach out to me! I’ll be your encouragement. No more excuses.
I hope this gut health series has been encouraging and enlightening. Your health is in YOUR hands. Make it a priority and do the work. You won’t regret it.