People pass gas on average between 13 and 21 times per day, says the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Despite its normalcy and frequency, a serious attack of stomach gas is far from pleasant. The pressure, bloating and distinct odor can cause you much embarrassment and discomfort. You may have to cancel a hot date, reschedule a meeting and hole up at home until the bout passes. Certain exercises might help expedite the gas through your system and resolve some of your symptoms. If your gas problems are chronic, you'll have to consider lifestyle and dietary changes as well as a visit to a health care professional.
Mild cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or leisurely pedaling of a bicycle, can make gas pass faster through your system. A study from researchers at Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, published in a 2004 issue of the "American Journal of Medicine," found that exercising participants passed gas more quickly than resting participants. The Autonomous University researchers repeated this study in people with irritable bowel syndrome a few years later and came to the same conclusion as published in a 2006 issue of the "American Journal of Gastroenterology."
Twisting exercises, such as those done in yoga, can help squeeze the gas out of the lower abdomen and digestive tract. Try a common yoga pose called the supine twist. Start by lying on your back, bending your knees and dropping them to one side. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the other side. A seated twist, in which you sit in a cross-legged position and place your right hand outside your left thigh as you rotate your torso to the left, can also help you relieve gas. Repeat the twist on the other side to feel balanced and fully compress the abdomen.
Forward bending exercises can also help compress your stomach and intestines to help release trapped gas. Try a seated forward fold in which you sit on the floor, extend your legs in front of you and bend forward to touch your hands to your shins or feet. You can also do this move from a standing position or seated with one leg extended and the other knee bent.
Gentle stretches that have you bend your knees into your chest can also help relieve gas pains. Lie on your back and hug both knees into your chest for a minute or two. Child's pose, a restorative yoga position, can also be beneficial in the reduction of gas. Get into an all-fours position and reach your arms out in front of you as you lower your buttocks to your heels, resting your forehead in the mat. Hold this pose for several minutes to feel relief.
- American Journal of Medicine: Effects of Physical Activity on Intestinal Gas Transit and Evacuation in Healthy Subjects
- American Journal of Gastroenterology: Physical Activity and Intestinal Gas Clearance in Patients with Bloating
- Yoga Journal: Tranquil Tummy
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.