Whether you’ve experienced it or not, belly bloat is a common symptom experienced by people after rigorous exercise. It’s an uncomfortable feeling of cramping or fullness typically isolated to the stomach or abdomen. We can try to describe it, but there’s nothing quite like bloat, and we don’t mean that in a good way.
But why do we get bloat when we exercise and how do we prevent it from happening in the first place?
You Ate Too Soon
We’ve all been uncomfortably full of food before. This is an easy phenomenon to understand.
Our stomachs have finite space for food, and when we fill up this space, we feel over-satiety. It’s the way our bodies let us know that we’ve stuffed our bellies too full.
However, this is not necessarily what’s happening when we experience bloat following exercise.
This occurs because digestion requires resources. Vitamins, minerals, and oxygen are delivered to the stomach and gut via blood.
When we exercise, this blood flow is needed elsewhere, so it is not delivered to the digestive system as efficiently as normal. This causes the food to remain in the stomach, which is one cause of the sensation of post-exercise bloat.
If you’re new to exercise, or if you’re beginning a new regimen after a long absence from the gym, you might not have a good gauge of how much water is enough. As we know from earlier, the stomach’s space is finite, and overfilling it can result in the discomfort we associate with bloat. Just drink a little less water next time. This will be easier as you adjust to your new routine.
Oxygen in the Stomach
Some people experience post-exercise bloat because they breathed too hard during their workout. Some air gets stuck in the belly. This is the same experience for a baby that needs to be burped. No shame, though. Just burp it out and try not to swallow so much next time you work out.
Getting Stressed Out
If you are new to the gym or exercise in general, the gym might be a very inhospitable place. Exercise, too, might be something you really don’t enjoy, and the combined stress of these factors could put your metabolism and digestion on hold. This is the “fight or flight response” in action. If you stop digesting normally, any food or liquid in your system will simply sit around, and this will cause you to feel the sensation associated with bloat.
So what’s to be done about bloat? Well, the answers are pretty simple. If you ate too much or drank too much water, simply change your habits by eating earlier or sipping on water slowly.
If you feel you swallow too much air, try slowing down your exercise and practicing filling your lungs, not your stomach.
Finally, if you feel that you are getting stress out, be more patient with yourself and accept that everyone is bad at working out the first time.
If none of these techniques work, supplements may help. The following supplements are formulated to help your digestive system be more efficient and less painful, in various ways. See which one is the best fit for the symptoms you are experiencing:
- MegaGuard Nature’s Stomach Support from Microbiome Labs is a comprehensive nutritional formula designed to support repairing and restoring a normal and healthy gastrointestinal lining. This formula includes a combination of plant enzymes, mucilaginous herbs and amino acids to soothe and support restoration of a healthy GI structure and function.
- DigestMax Ultra, Advanced Naturals from Advanced Naturals contains a unique SmartZYME blend, which combines multiple enzyme strains to increase the formula’s potency over a broader pH range in the digestive tract. This full spectrum of digestive enzymes works to help break down protein, carbohydrates, fats and starches.
- Intestinal Repair Complex Powder from Nutra Biogenesis combines licorice polyphenols, artichoke, and ginger to promote normal digestion, balance stomach acid, balance H. pylori levels, and reduce occasional digestive discomforts such as gas, bloating, and indigestion.
Don’t let exercise bloat prevent you from pursuing fitness. It’s just another hurdle you will eventually clear. Good luck!