Physical activities like walking, cycling and aerobics can all help reduce stomach bloating, research finds.
They change the speed at which gas moves through the intestines and bowel.
Physical activities can ease indigestion, heartburn, bloating, constipation, stomach pain, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Lack of physical activity and a high body mass index (BMI) have been shown to increase common GI disorders including abdominal pain with nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating and constipation.
Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota found that obese people who regularly do some physical activities suffered less from GI symptoms when compared with inactive subjects.
Dr Rona L. Levy, the study’s lead author, said:
“It is well-documented that maintaining a healthy diet and regular physical activity can benefit GI health.
Our study is the first to show the benefit of maintaining these healthy habits and staving off the occurrence of GI symptoms in obese people.
These findings have future implications for the treatment of both obesity and various GI disorders and symptoms that are more prevalent in this population.”
Another study found that moderate to hard physical activity over the course of 12 weeks would significantly improve GI symptoms.
The most common activities involved were walking, cycling and aerobics and the duration of exercise was around 5 hours per week.
Moderate-intensity physical activity at a minimum of 30 minutes per day, five days a week has been recommended by experts.
But this study shows that a significant improvement in IBS patients occurs when exercise routines were increased.
These studies suggest that routine physical activities can be an effective treatment option in reducing symptoms of GI disorders such as IBS.
Boosting physical activity causes a change of gas transit and colonic transit (how quickly material moves through the large bowel).
This will lead to an improvement in intestinal gas clearance and reduction in the symptoms of abdominal pain, stomach bloating and constipation.
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The first study was published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology And Hepatology (Levy et al., 2005) and the second study was published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Johannesson et al., 2015).