Let’s get moving…like our gut!
Exercise helps us look good on the outside and also on the inside! Research indicates that exercise is beneficial for your gut microbiota and actually changes the microbial composition in the gut! You don’t have to run a marathon in order to help your gut. Simply incorporate exercise into your daily routine and you’re all set on the way to good gut health! Some quick exercises include jumping jacks, jump rope, and trampoline
As a rule of thumb, do not exercise directly after meals! Relaxation stimulates the vagus nerve, the brain’s vessel in controlling the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Connecting the brain all the way to the intestines, the vagus nerve powers up our involuntary nerve activity influencing digestion, metabolism, and the uptake of nutrients. Constant stress puts the body in an unbalanced state toward an excessive sympathetic (fight or flight) response which promotes inflammation, insomnia, immune dysfunction, and accelerated aging. Therefore, if you exercise within two hours of eating a meal, you may feel sluggish since you’re moving into the fight-or-flight response instead of the rest-and-digest. Exercise may inhibit digestion and lead to discomforting nausea and cramping.
Create a workout plan that is diverse! A variety of exercises are important to incorporate into your daily workout routine. You can mix together anaerobic exercises (weights) with aerobic exercises (leg workouts) and flexibility exercises (pilates) for the optimal routine! However, rigorous aerobic exercises (running) should be avoided since they can cause discomfort. Opt for a walk instead! The amount of time spent for individual workouts can be tailored to fit your busy schedule. You can spend as little as 5 minutes for each workout! Here we included some fun and easy exercises to jumpstart your gut health!
Jumping jacks are an easy total-body workout that require no equipment! Jumping jacks provide a quick metabolic boost wherever you are-even at the office! Jumping jacks work your glutes, quadriceps, and hip flexors. Since they are an aerobic exercise, performing jumping jacks may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome and diabetes and promote heart health!
Step 1: Stand up straight, with your feet together and your hands down by your side.
Step 2: Jump your feet out to the side while raising your arms to the side and above your head.
Step 3: In one fluid motion, jump back to the starting position by lowering the arms and jumping the feet back together. That is one jumping jack.
Step 4: Continue this sequence as needed based on your time alloted and workout
Jump ropes are easy to incorporate to your daily exercise routine and require minimal equipment-just your body and a jump rope. Benefits include lowering body fat, increasing endurance, and improving metabolism! In just three simple steps, you can jump to a better you! Aerobic exercises are beneficial, bringing more blood flow to our organs and of course – the digestive tract
Step 1: Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body
Step 2: Hold both rope handles in one hand
Step 3: Swing the rope, bringing the handles up to your chest
Step 4: Finally, try to jump continuously for as long as you can
Trampolines are another fun way to help your digestive tract! They are great for your core stability and flexibility. The core stability muscles are engaged in this exercise to keep you stable and balanced which contribute to a stronger and slimmer stomach. Maintaining safety is very important so proceed with caution. The first step is important to follow before trampolining so you can locate the most stable and bouncy areas.
Step 1: Walk around on the trampoline to test its tension
Step 2: Assume an upright position with legs slightly spread apart
Step 3: Gravitate towards the center since this will be the bounciest area
Step 4: Start to gently bounce, staying lower to the trampoline
Step 5: When comfortable, bounce higher
With its emphasis on breathing and stretching, yoga is a relaxing way to assist in digestion for a happy gut. Certain poses may increase blood flow to the digestive system. Twists are an easy pose to directly target your digestive tract located right below the ribcage. When you perform a twist, the liver (your body’s site of detoxification) is squeezed. Everyone, even pregnant women, can safely perform this pose, since it assumes an belly-open position. While doing a twist, relax and focus on each breath. Spend about 5-10 breaths on each side!
Step 1: Start by sitting with your legs extended straight in front of you
Step 2: Bend your knees to bring you feet to your left side, with your legs flat on the floor
Step 3: Grab a your right knee with your left hand and begin to twist
Step 4: Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation
Step 5: Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side
Believe it or not, one of the most important exercises for optimal gut health is breathing! Stress may increase the acid in your stomach causing indigestion. It’s essential to set some time every day to de-stress in order to stimulate the vagus nerve and activate the ‘rest and digest’ response. There are a few tips and tricks to get the best out of your breathing exercise. Try to make the inhale and exhale motion as natural as you can, reducing any kind of tension. It’s your time to wind down. Fully relax your body instead of contracting your stomach.
Step 1: Take a deep breath and let your stomach expand from the diaphragm moving down.
Step 2: When you exhale, make sure to relax the stomach and let it fall in