August 18, 2019 at 02:00AM by CWC
When you’re bloated, crampy, and backed up, shimmying into a Spandex set sounds about as appealing as diving into an aquarium tank during shark feeding time. But, counterintuitively, one of the best ways to get things moving is to, well, get up and get moving.
When you have digestive issues, says gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal, MD, “all exercise is good exercise…I have patients who I tell to take a walk after a meal to help things move forward, to help prevent a little bit of reflux, and to keep their gas levels low. Really anything that’s going to involve movement [is going to help].”
But the best type of exercise to help constipation is ab work. “Part of what makes our intestines move is our innate musculature,” says Dr. Sonpal, but the abdominal wall muscles also play a role. “When you exercise, you’re jostling around and you’re also contracting those core muscles, which helps push the poop forward.”
One more time for the people in the back: “Core exercises are going to be the best exercises for the abdomen and obviously for the promotion of poopage,” says Dr. Sonpal. (Yes, “promotion of poopage” was a real. quote.)
Dr. Sonpal is quick to add that you can’t just crunch your way to better gut health. “I would emphasize—from the standpoint of a physician who literally talks about poop day in and day out—that exercise is just one factor in good poop. Diet, fiber, and water—these are all factors. So it’s always good to look at a holistic view.”
Pair a Pilates class with a gut healthy breakfast, and you’ll be strolling smugly to the bathroom in no time. Or, try one of the below three expert-approved core workouts in the comfort of your own home (read: close to your own bathroom).