Ask anyone how they take care of their digestion and you may get a range of answers – from taking probiotics and prebiotics, to drinking daily kombucha, to eating a special diet or even doing specific exercises.
As a culture, we like to pick one element of a “solution” and focus on it. Trust me, as nutrition coaches and authors of three health books and a cook book, we wholeheartedly agree that the quality of food matters.
But what if we are missing the forest for the trees? What if it wasn’t so much the quality of food, but rather the ability of our organs being able to move freely that was important? Organs need both space and stimulation to have the mobility and motility that are their natural requirement for function.
As coaches who incorporate nutrition, movement and stress management in supporting our clients, we see that being sedentary and keeping organs stuck in one position negatively impacts almost everyone’s digestion. Once we set systems in place to get moving during the day, we see incredible changes – constipation and irregular bowel movements decrease, gas and bloating go away, and most of our students report better mood and energy, too.
Why do our organs get influenced by being sedentary? It’s close quarters in there – and between work clothes, being seated, and most of us not using the full range of motion of the torso and shoulder girdle (a lumberjack does, perhaps, or a professional athlete?!) – we are keeping our poor organs in stiff and unyielding positions. And no, standing won’t help much either, especially if you stand in the “not cool” way, as shown by our movement colleague and reproductive health specialist Barbara Loomis here.
Tight clothes and belt buckles can even press on parts of our gut and negatively influence internal pressures – we’ve referred many of our students to therapists trained in Visceral Manipulation or Arvigo abdominal therapy, only to get confirmation, that yes, that’s what’s bringing on the symptoms that often will get blamed on candida overgrowth or SIBO or even stress.
You can do something about this situation today and give your organs the space and time they deserve in your work life. Moreover, what you do for your organs to improve your digestion will impact your overall health and productivity, motivation and wellbeing – so you have a win-win.
To start making changes you need three key elements:
- change your position often
- move throughout the day
- include specific corrective exercises in your movement program
1. When you go for a walk between bouts of work tasks, walk a bit faster and let your arms swing freely – this will support the rotation of the torso, encourage deeper breathing and help organ mobility.
2. Change your positions often and develop a rich sitting vocabulary. For more read and watch the videos here.
3. Make your breaks at work active – do stretches that include the torso and ribcage, as well as the pelvis. Try this simple chair rotation.
3. When you exercise, include rotation exercises – like in this rotation flow that we taught in our 365 community a few months back.
Changing your work habits may just be the key to improving your digestion. To change any habit you need simple and applicable reminders as you find a new rhythm. Just for you, we’ve created a simple download you can print and stick on your desk or bulletin board as you create a more dynamic and physically supportive environment.
Click here, get your free download, your work body will thank you!
Do you have a favorite way to take care of your digestion through movement? Comment below and let us know! We would love to learn from you!