4 Exercises to Boost Digestive Health

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Paige Greenfield Fowler on June 8, 2021
  • Male athlete sitting on track
    Keeping Things Moving
    You already know you should get enough exercise to maintain a healthy body. But did you know that physical activity also helps your digestive system work the way it should? Read on to learn about four exercises that keep digestion moving.
  • Couple riding bikes
    1. Aerobic Exercise
    Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day. This is especially helpful if you experience constipation. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as walking briskly, bike riding, playing tennis, swimming, jogging—anything that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat! Vigorous activity improves the circulation to the gut and stimulates enzyme production—two benefits that keep your intestines 'running' on schedule.
  • Man in yoga pose
    2. Yoga
    Stress can worsen conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and indigestion. Regular exercise can help reduce stress levels. You may find that yoga is a helpful way to relax and manage stress in your life, which could help improve your condition.
  • Woman doing sit-ups
    3. Sit-ups
    Doing sit-ups can help prevent a bloated belly associated with gas. Aim for at least one set of eight to 12 sit-ups. Feeling stronger? Move up to two to three sets.
  • Woman speaking with health care provider
    4. Pelvic Floor Exercises
    If you experience bowel control problems, also known as fecal incontinence, pelvic floor exercises can help. To do them, squeeze and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Aim for 50 to 100 reps per day. Your healthcare provider can teach you to do the exercises the right way.
4 Exercises to Boost Digestive Health

About The Author

  1. What I Need to Know About Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/constipation_ez/ 
  2. Fecal Incontinence. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/fecalincontinence/
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/index.aspx 
  4. Indigestion. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/indigestion/  
  5. Digestive Health Tips. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/digestive-health-tips/ 
  6. How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 8
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