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Moving your body isn’t just about burning calories or losing weight. The human body was designed to be active and agile. Your body systems function better when you are physically active in your everyday life.
How Physical Activity Supports Digestive Health
Exercise and physical activity have many positive physiological effects on the body. When you are active, the following things happen:
- Your endorphins increase, which leads to increased positive feelings and interactions with your brain receptors (like reducing your perception of pain or lowering anxiety).
- Your stress levels and stress hormones go down.
- Your metabolism revs up.
- Your muscles receive increased blood flow, including those in the digestive tract.
When you get regular physical activity, these benefits can all work together to not only increase your quality of life and overall health but specifically influence how efficiently your digestive system is able to function. As your metabolism functions better, your body weight and energy levels will also be optimized.
Exercise and movement can also regulate your stress levels, which can have a positive impact on how well you sleep, how you handle challenges in everyday life, and how calm you are able to feel while you are eating and digesting your food. While conventional medicine might view your digestive problems, stress, and physical aches and pains as several different isolated things that need to be treated separately, a holistic understanding of the body recognizes that all of these things are tied together.
Exercise and regular physical activity aren’t just about burning calories. They are about regulating your entire body and promoting wellness as well as avoiding or offsetting the negative effects of stress.
The Best Kinds of Exercise for Digestion
You don’t need to become a marathon runner overnight. The best kinds of physical activity that support optimal digestion are those that you do regularly and those that offer benefits to your body without overworking or stressing it. Too much exercise can tax the digestive system.
If you want to add physical activity to your regular routine, consider something that is easy to maintain and easy to start from scratch. Going for daily walks before or after meals is a great way to ease into it. Starting a daily yoga practice, even just for 10 minutes, can also have benefits. You can also change things up by trying any of the following:
- Play with your kids outside
- Go swimming
- Play tennis
- Practice tai chi
- Try a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout
- Rebound on a mini trampoline
Ultimately, what’s important is that no matter which activity you choose, you start doing it consistently.
Today’s Simple Step
Humans are creatures of habit. If you force yourself to do something that you dislike, you probably won’t keep up the habit. Find a way to move your body that is enjoyable. If nothing feels motivating, consider pairing your physical activity with something else that you love: go for a walk with a friend, listen to an audiobook or podcast while walking, or if you love being outdoors, take your yoga outside. There are plenty of creative ways to work physical activity into your daily life. The benefits are certainly worth it, both in the big picture of your total health and in the targeted ways that it can support healthy digestion.
This Avocado-Asparagus Soup is a great way to infuse the taste of summer into the gray days of winter. Asparagus is a prebiotic food that nourishes the good bacteria in your gut while avocado provides healthy fat and folate to support good cellular communication and methylation.