The best exercises to try if you’re bloated

You can’t say that exercise is the cure for all bloating, because it isn’t. There are many causes of bloating, and to alleviate bloating long term, most will need to address the cause. However, getting your body moving more is always a good idea, and when it comes to bloating, even helping to reduce puffiness or eliminate some of the stress can be a huge relief.

We spoke with Doni Thomson, personal trainer and gym manager at PureGym Aberdeen, to learn more about the links between bloating and whether exercise can actually help reduce a bloated belly.

What is bloating and why does it happen to me?

When your stomach is full and usually slightly uncomfortable, you may feel bloated. Many people notice that their belly looks much bigger than usual and rounder when they are pumped up. Bloating can go hand in hand with stomach pain, rumbling, and tenderness.

Most of the time people will have bloating when they have eaten a lot of food, or have a lot of gas in their intestine. But lots of food and drink, like soda and vegetables, can cause bloating. For women, the menstrual cycle can also make you feel bloated.

Some foods are more likely to give you a bloated stomach than others. This list of foods includes oligosaccharides, which are found in wheat, onions, garlic, legumes and beans – so think curries and rice bowls, as well as disaccharides, which you will notice in lactose, and monosaccharides, in some fruits like apples and pears.

It is important to note that excessive bloating can also be caused by other underlying conditions such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances. So if you notice a change in your bloating habits, it may be worth seeing a doctor.

How could bloating be helped by exercise?

Excessive bloating is often closely related to your diet, such as having a food group intolerance or not eating enough fiber, which can lead to constipation. If you regularly suffer from severe or painful bloating, it is always best to consult your doctor.

That said, if you feel bloated from overeating, being active after a meal can help aid digestion and reduce your bloated feeling. Regular exercise can also help prevent constipationwhich can be a cause of feeling bloated.

Does moving really help fight bloating?

The best way to manage bloating is to make sure you’re active, eating enough fiber, and drinking enough water. Stopping eating just before you are full can help prevent bloating after a meal, but if it’s too late and you suffer from post-food bloating, participating in a gentle activity can help reduce discomfort and relieve bloating faster.

There’s no better exercise to help manage bloating. Any form of movement that encourages activity can help reduce discomfort, but it’s best to stick to something gentle, as high-intensity exercise can worsen your condition. Walking, yoga, swimming, or low-impact cardio like cycling are good options.

What exercises can help relieve bloating?

Resisting the urge to lie down is crucial in helping your bloating. Even if you feel like that’s all you want to do when you’re bloated, for instant relief, lying down can trap gas and keep it from leaving your body.


Cardio can be great for bloating because it helps get rid of gas, which is one of the main causes of bloating. Cardio will help get your digestion going, so going for a brisk walk or jog can really help.

Here are the best running shoes to wear if you go for regular runs, the best exercise bikes for indoor cycling, and the best treadmills for indoor running and walking workouts.


Yoga is also a great workout to help with bloating. You can increase your blood flow and circulation, to help get things moving again, with poses and extended movements like the torso twist. While poses like downward facing dog and cat-cow can help ease the tension. Yoga is also great for targeting stress, which can be the main cause of bloating. You will therefore attack the problem at the cause!

Here’s what happened when we tried this yoga workout with 43 million views, the best yoga mats to buy, and 8 of the best Pilates exercises to try.

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