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Easy ways to take care of your gut

Some top tips on how to boost your digestive health along with 3 easy exercises to help you on your way

When embarking on a new fitness or healthy eating regime our digestive system is often overlooked. Here we explore the importance of exercise along with eating for a healthy gut.

We all know our digestive system breaks down our food, gets rid of toxins and absorbs nutrients that help our bodies function properly but did you know that our gut health is linked to our immune system? If we don’t get the health of our gut right then we leave ourselves open to health conditions such as coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes, chronic fatigue, obesity, colds and flu, skin conditions such as eczema and ultimately even cancer.

The health of our gut can also affect our mental wellbeing. When our digestive system is working well we feel happier. So having a healthy gut is not just about our body functioning better but it really is key to having overall better health

A healthy gut not only means a healthy body but a healthy mind too!

So where do we start?

Eating and drinking the right things is essential but how we move our bodies is just as important too. Movement helps to stimulate our gut and makes the muscles in our digestive tract work more effectively.

Exercise can also affect the balance of bacteria in the gut, preventing the growth of bad bacteria and helping our bodies to digest and absorb what is needed from the food we eat.

Our health and fitness expert, Sarah Kemp, has some tips on how to maintain a healthy gut and which exercises are helpful to keep our digestion moving.

Eating well

We all know that we should be eating a healthy and balanced diet but in particular, fibre is the key to a healthy gut.

Fibre can be found in our five-a-day along with antioxidants which help prevent cell damage.

Evidence suggests that eating less red and processed meats may also reduce our risk of bowel cancer.

Read more diet tips on how to have a healthy bowel and digestive system.

Drinking well

Aim for approximately 6-8 glasses of water a day as, along with keeping us hydrated, it will help to flush out toxins and aid digestion.

Go for a walk

A brisk walk will kick-start your digestive system along with improving your metabolism.

Try and walk just after a light meal or snack. If you’ve had a heavy meal then it’s best to wait an hour.

But, don’t try and run or do any high aerobic exercise while your body is digesting as this may result in discomfort and stiches.

Less stress more exercise

Anxiety and stress can play a part in weakening our body’s resistance, immune system and how we digest our food. Stress can leave us feeling tired and bloated.

Regular exercise is a great way to help reduce anxiety. 

Exercises to aid digestion

Here are 3 exercises that will help boost our digestion by assisting the involuntary muscles that push our food along the digestive tract.

These exercises can be performed after a light meal or snack (it is advisable to wait at least 30 minutes if you have just eaten a heavier meal).

You may need an exercise mat or towel to protect your knees.

Try not to rush these exercises; we are aiming for slow, controlled movements.

Start on all fours, making sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Your hands should be flat on the floor and your spine straight.

Stretch out your right arm so it is in line with your shoulder at the same time lifting your left leg making sure your heel is in line with your hips. You are aiming for a straight line from your right arm all the way to your left foot.

Try and hold this position for a second without wobbling, then slowly bring your right arm and left knee black to where you started.

Then drop your head and bottom into a cat stretch, allowing your back to arch. Hold this for a second then repeat the exercise ten times on the same arm and leg, rest then repeat with the left arm and right leg ten times.

As soon as you have finished it is important to follow with the stretching exercises.

Turn your body over so you are lying on your back and hug your knees into your chest for a few seconds.

Then, holding your right knee with both hands, slowly extend your left leg out straight. Draw your left leg back and repeat with the other leg.

You should not lift your upper body or head from the floor; they should remain as still as possible while your legs and arms are working. Repeat this 10 times.

Now but both feet back on the floor and slowly stretch out your legs until you are lying flat on your back with your arms by your side.

Trying to keep your arms in contact with the floor at all times, slowly extend your arms out and up past your head.

Now make yourself as long as possible and stretch. Hold for around 10 to 20 seconds. This movement will release any pressure in your gut.

And you’ve done it!

Make a visit to our Exercise and fitness centre for more information and inspiration.

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