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Can Exercise Strengthen Your Digestive System?

Can Exercise Strengthen Your Digestive System?
Can Exercise Strengthen Your Digestive System?

A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can negatively impact your digestion resulting in problems such as constipation, bloating, and irritable bowel disease (IBS).

Here’s how a regular exercise program can improve and strengthen your digestive system:

  • Faster Digestion: Performing moderately-intense exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling can speed up movement of food through the digestive tract by as much as 30% making the digestive process more efficient.
  • Improvement of Digestive Symptoms: In a research study conducted on patients with gastrointestinal problems, daily regular exercise that included walking for 30 minutes every day resulted in significant improvement of chronic constipation symptoms.
  • Decreasing Inflammation: Exercise has been shown to reduce the number of inflammatory compounds in the body. This may have a positive effect on those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Enhancement of Gut Flora: Just 6 weeks of exercise can increase the number of gut bacteria that are necessary for proper digestion of some types of food.
  • Reduced Risk of Gallstones: If you are obese, a regular exercise program will help you lose weight gradually. This reduces your risk of developing gallstones.
  • Prevention of GI Diseases: Certain gastrointestinal conditions such as diverticular disease, liver diseases and some forms of gastric cancer are more prevalent among people with sedentary lifestyles. Regular exercise will lower your risk for these conditions.

As you can see, exercise benefits your digestive system in many ways. If you do suffer with chronic gastrointestinal problems, it is best to consult your doctor or a gastroenterologist before embarking on a new exercise program.

Greater Houston Gastroenterology provides specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions in The Woodlands, Sugar Land, and Spring, Texas.

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