Whether you indulge in a heavy meal or gulp water after a run, stomach bloat always comes to visit. Don't feel alone. Bloating happens to everyone and for different reasons. Don't resist the temptation to loaf on your sofa with an antacid though. Get moving and do core-focused ab exercises to clear that bloat. Check with your doctor before doing ab exercises, and to make sure a medical condition isn't causing your bloating.
Yoga for Relief
From that last-minute presentation to your mother-in-law flying in for an extended stay, stress has an unpleasant way of hanging out in your body. Smile away, but on the inside you're a stress bubble ready to burst. Trying the ancient practice of yoga and its digestion-friendly moves -- Downward-Facing Dog, Legs-Up-The-Wall and Bharadvaja's Twist, to name a few -- can help ease your bloat and calm your wary mind. For Downward-Facing Dog, begin on all fours and extend your legs. Exhale as you straighten your legs and angle your torso down. Support your weight equally between your hands and feet, and hold the pose for one to three minutes.
Lessen the Bloat with Cardio
Get moving to beat that bloat. Cardio exercises -- while healthy for your heart and an excellent way to burn calories -- can also help de-bloat your stomach. And, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends everyone gear up their heart rate for at least 20 minutes, three to four times weekly. Bike, jog or join a health club aerobic class. Better yet, skip dessert and grab some friends for an after-dinner power walk. You and the girls can burn 245 calories for every hour logged, or add some jogging intervals to burn 385 calories.
Power Pilates to the Rescue
Pilates may not be a mega-calorie burner -- only 160 calories per hour -- but its ab moves tone the core to reduce bloat. Pilates ab exercises tone and stretch the rectus abdominis, the obliques and your transverse abdominal muscles for a complete core routine to squeeze out the bloat. Give the crisscross reach, double-leg stretch and seated spine twist a go. For the latter, sit tall with your legs stretched out. Put your arms out to the sides and inhale. As you exhale, tighten your stomach and twist your torso. Return to center and inhale before twisting to the other side. Continue twisting until you feel tightness in your abs.
Strengthen Your Core
Strength work's for not only biceps and quads. Neglecting your core can lead to a saggy midsection that easily holds in gas. Tight ab muscles, on the other hand, act like an accordion and squeeze unwanted gas out. Keep doing classic core exercises -- crunches and situps -- and add pelvic pushes. Lie down with an exercise band placed across your pelvis for the pelvis push. Bend your knees and angle your feet up, pushing your heels into the floor. Hold the edges of the band down at your sides for resistance while lifting your pelvis toward the ceiling, and then lowering it until it meets the floor. Repeat this move and you should feel tightness if your abs and glutes by the 15th rep.
- MayoClinic.com: Bloating, Belching and Intestinal Gas: How To Avoid Them
- Yoga Journal: Downward-Facing Dog
- Yoga Journal: Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
- Yoga Journal: Bharadvaja's Twist
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Aerobic Exercise
- Fitness: How Many Calories Are You Really Burning?
- Fitness: Fat-Burning Power Pilates
- Fitness: Pilates for a Longer, Leaner Look
- Fitness: 5 Moves for Your Arms, Back, Legs, Butt, Shoulders
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.