When your IBS flares up, you often just want to crawl up into a ball and hibernate in your room for hours on end. You feel defeated and unable to do anything. Unsurprisingly, exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing. But sometimes exercise can actually help relieve the symptoms of IBS.
While introducing regular exercise into your routine is hugely encouraged for IBS sufferers due to its stress-relieving and muscle strengthening abilities, it is usually advertised as a form of prevention and rarely as a temporary cure. So below I’m going to talk to you about why exercise can relieve symptoms of bloating which is already present, and which exercises are best for it.
When you exercise, it helps gas pass through the body through the movement of your muscles and organs. While cardio is best to get the body moving, weight training will also increase movement of gas. Focusing on abdominal exercises will be beneficial, as it will strengthen the abdominal wall while focusing movement into the area which is bloated.
If seriously bloated, doing calmer forms of exercise may be preferable. Yoga and pilates will help with gas flow, stretching out the muscles instead of allowing them to crunch up and feel worse. Pilates focuses on core retention, so this again will help with abdominal issues.
I know suggesting going out and exercising is easier said than done when it comes to really bad IBS bloating, but it has often helped me when it was the last thing I wanted to do. Be wise with your choice of exercise though – the up and down movement when running will feel very uncomfortable when bloated and you will likely just get a stitch, giving you even more discomfort. Sitting down forms of cardio may be best, such as using a rowing machine or cycling. Swimming is also a good one as you can go at a calmer pace. Home exercises can often be the best choice as it means you don’t have to venture out of the comfort of your home when you are feeling rubbish. Try doing abdominal exercises on the floor, along with yoga or pilates style stretches. Stretches which stretch and elongate your whole body are great for easing off some of that cramped up feeling. And of course a gentle walk can often be just what the doctor ordered.
So next time you are suffering from a bloated stomach, try not to feel defeated and retire to the comfort of your bed. Although it may feel like it is doing some good by relaxing you, you are just scrunching up your stomach even more. Instead, try some gentle exercise to relieve those horrible symptoms.