Abdominal exercise provides multiple benefits. Exercises specifically targeting the abdominal muscles, such as crunches, help tone the muscles. Rigorous exercises that work the abdominal muscles, such as running, help burn the fat that rests on top of the abdominal muscles. It does this by increasing your metabolic rate, which makes your body use up stored fat for energy. However, abdominal exercise can have its drawbacks, including belches and flatulence. Understanding what causes gas after abdominal exercise can help you find a means of prevention quickly.
Why Gas Occurs after Abdominal Exercise
During exercise, you may be taking in sharper, deeper breaths and swallowing. This excess air is taken down into the stomach where it either rises back up in the form of a belch or gets trapped in the digestive tract, only to be released through the anus. In addition, 30 minutes of aerobic exercises help move food through the digestive process faster. While this may help with occasional constipation, it also makes for the release of gases caught in the digestive tract.
Abdominal Exercises that Might Cause Gas
If your abdominal workout includes overall aerobic exercises, you might experience more gas, as these help increase digestion rates. Aerobic exercises are cardiovascular exercises designed to get your heart rate up to an intensity rate sufficient for fat-burning. These include running, jogging, cycling, swimming, walking and skipping. In addition, exercises that specifically target the abdominal muscles can also cause gas. These include crunches and sit-ups. However, it must be noted that targeted exercises do not cause gas, but can rather create the means for increased gas, depending on your breathing techniques during exercise.
To prevent gas from aerobic exercise, focus on the foods you eat prior to exercise. Aerobic exercise helps move previous food intake through your digestive system. Some of these foods may be hard to digest, causing them to ferment in the colon where gas-producing bacteria try to break the foods down. Thus, when aerobic exercises encourage and quicken digestion, they encourage the release of these gases. Such foods that produce gas include starches, such as wheat, corn and potatoes, and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, lentils and cauliflower and carbonated drinks. To prevent against gas after abdominal-targeted exercise, control your breathing during the exercise. This includes scrapping the habit of sucking in too much air and swallowing, which can cause gas, for a rhythm of steady inhalation and exhalation.
Excessive gas may not be caused by your workout routine but rather by other lifestyle habits; and the things you do habitually will carryover into and affect your state during your workout. For instance, tilting your head when using a straw may lead you to take in air on top of the liquid, causing gas. Lactose-intolerance may also cause gas, as your body does not produce enough of the enzyme to break down the lactose present in certain foods, such as dairy. This causes the lactose to sit in the colon, where gas-producing bacteria try to break it down. Other possible causes may be stress, gulping beverages, eating too fast and excessive swallowing due to postnasal drip.
Excessive gas may be caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Though not much is known about its cause, IBS is a disorder of the large intestine wherein the intestinal wall contractions that move food through the digestive process may last longer and be stronger. This may cause food to move through the system faster, causing gas. IBS is common and non-life threatening, so simple lifestyle changes may remedy the disorder. Other symptoms include diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. Consult your doctor if you are concerned you may have IBS.