Pick any of these seven stretches the next time you’re feeling bloated to feel better ASAP.
There are many causes of bloating. Maybe you ate too much, too quickly; perhaps your food didn’t agree with you, or maybe you’re just dehydrated. Regardless of the cause, feeling bloated is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful.
Typically, when you’re bloated, it’s because there’s excess gas in your system, or there are disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system. This leads to a feeling of excessive fullness and discomfort. While bloating usually goes away on its own, there are ways to help speed up the process and feel better faster. One fast and easy way is stretching.
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Stretching can help you feel less bloated in a few different ways:
- Increased peristalsis: Peristalsis is the movement of food through our intestines. Stretches that twist the abdomen help to increase this process by compressing the colon, which also helps to relieve gas and bloating.
- Faster blood flow: Bringing fresh blood to the abdomen helps to loosen up tightened abdominal muscles and to get the backed-up stuff moving out of the stomach and colon.
- Improve digestion: Stress can cause digestion to slow down, which leads to bloating. Relaxing stretches help to bring the body back into the “rest and digest” so that digestion fires back up.
Next time you feel bloated, stop what you’re doing and give any of these seven stretches a try. No equipment needed!
Wind Relieving Pose | 30 sec per side
As the name implies, this is a great go-to stretch to release gas and bloating.
- Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest.
- Straighten your left leg down the mat and interlace your fingers on top of your right shin.
- Guide the right thigh around the ribs to bring the knee towards the right shoulder. Squeeze the thigh inward and breathe deeply into the belly.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Supine Twist | 30 sec per side
This twist calms the nervous system and wrings out the colon to release bloating and excess gas.
- Lie on your back. Hug your right knee into your chest and straighten your left leg down the mat.
- On an exhale, use your left hand to twist your right thigh across your body. Extend your right arm out to the side with the palm facing up.
- Look up or over your left shoulder and breathe deeply into the belly as you hold for 30 seconds. Then, switch sides.
Cat-Cow | 8 breaths
Moving between these two stretches brings fresh oxygenated blood into the abdomen to stimulate the muscles and digestive enzymes.
- Get down on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Inhale to come into your cow pose by lowering your belly towards the floor, tilting your tailbone up towards the sky and pressing your chest forward. Look up and keep your neck long. You should feel a stretch along the belly and chest.
- Then, exhale to come into your cat stretch by rounding your spine, tilting your tailbone down towards the ground, and tucking your chin to your chest. You should feel a stretch along your back.
- Continue alternating between your cow and cat stretches for 8 rounds of breath.
Seated Twist | 8 breaths per side
Increase the movement of food and gas through the intestines with this simple twist.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and bring the heel over your left leg, towards your left glute. Then, bend your left knee and place the foot on the floor outside of your right thigh.
- Sit up tall and place your left fingertips behind you as you reach your right arm towards the sky. Then, exhale and twist to the left. Wrap your right arm around your left shin and hug the leg into your chest.
- Sit up tall as you inhale and twist a little deeper as you exhale. Hold for 8 breaths, then switch sides.
Boat | 30 sec
Beat bloat with the boat! You’ll stimulate the abdominal muscles and bring fresh blood flow to the belly.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Find a nice long spine and reach your arms straight forward.
- Lean back a couple of inches to feel your abs start to work. Then, pick up your feet and bring your shins parallel to the ground.
- Lift up through your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you hold for 30 seconds.
Yogi Squat | 30 sec
This stretch puts your body into the perfect position to, ahem, get things moving.
- Begin in a forward fold with your feet out wider than hip-width distance and your toes pointing out at 45 degrees.
- Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground. Lift your chest, straighten your spine and bring your hands together in front of your chest.
- Use your arms to gently press on your thighs, while simultaneously squeezing your thighs back inward.
- Engage your pelvic floor and your abs as you hold for 30 seconds.
Low Lunge Twist | 30 sec per side
Twist your bloating and worries away with this feel-good stretch.
- Start in a high plank position, then step your right foot between your hands. Tap your left knee to the floor to come into a low lunge position. Make sure that your right knee is stacked over the ankle.
- Plant your left palm under your left shoulder. Then, inhale to twist your right arm towards the sky. With every inhale, lengthen your spine. With every exhale, twist deeper and reach up.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
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