Moves to Relieve Gas

Suffering from stomach pain.

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Passing gas is as normal and necessary as breathing. In fact, according to an oft-cited study from 1991, the average adult passes gas eight times during the course of a day. Yet even though everyone does it, passing gas can be a source of embarrassment, sometimes even discomfort.

Many over-the-counter medications can be used to reduce gas. In some cases, they're not meant for long-term use, though. Fortunately, there's another approach: Just a little physical activity can help move gas and ease any discomfort you have with it.

This article looks at ways you can use your own body to help relieve gas, and when medical help may be needed instead. It also offers some ideas on how to reduce gas in the first place.

Get on Your Feet

Mother and son leaving for a walk at front door

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Taking a walk can sometimes be all that's needed to relieve gas and bloating in the short term. According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, light physical activity can help move intestinal gas and reduce bloating in the abdomen.

At least 30 minutes of exercise, three or four days a week, should be plenty to help keep the bloating and burps at bay.

Lie on Your Side

Young woman sleeping on sofa

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This simple move may work especially well for releasing gas trapped in the lower intestine. Follow these steps to see if they bring relief:

  1. On a bed, sofa, or the floor, lie on your side.
  2. Gently draw both knees toward your chest.
  3. If you don't get relief after several minutes, try slowly moving your legs down and up a few times.
  4. Try using your hands to pull your knees closer to your chest, if you can do this comfortably or without causing more pain.

Squat

Woman in gym doing squats

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Squats are good for more than building strong thighs and gluteal (butt) muscles. Here's how to lower yourself into this position to help relieve gas:

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart and facing forward.
  2. Put your hands on your hips or hold on to the back of a sturdy chair. Then, slowly bend your knees until your rear end is close to the floor.
  3. Place your hands on the tops of your thighs (or continue to hold onto the chair). Stay in this position until you feel the gas start to move.

This position may cause the need to have a bowel movement so make sure you can easily get to a bathroom if necessary.

When to See a Doctor

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Intestinal gas is rarely a sign of a medical problem. Again, it's a normal by-product of digestion. But there are a handful of conditions that are associated with an increase in gas.

These conditions include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), lactose intolerance, and celiac disease.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) advises seeing a doctor about gas if there are other symptoms along with it. These may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Bleeding

Otherwise, try changing your diet to exclude foods known to cause gas. They include milk, beans, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and wheat bran.

There are other changes you can make too. Avoiding smoking will help, as will limiting the use of chewing gum and drinking straws. They both cause you to swallow air, which can lead to more gas.

Summary

There are ways to relieve gas by changing your body position. Being physically active can help keep gas moving. Lying on your side or squatting can also help it pass.

Changing your diet also may help. In most cases, gas is not a serious issue, but you may wish to see a healthcare provider if excess gas persists.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What position should I lie in to relieve gas?

    Your side. Lying on your side with your knees bent can help to release trapped gas. If you don’t feel relief after a few minutes, pull your knees closer to your chest. You can also try alternating between straight legs and bent knees a few times to help move the trapped gas so it can be expelled.

  • What is the quickest way to relieve trapped gas?

    Movement. Research shows light physical activity, such as walking, is the best way to keep trapped air moving through the intestines.

  • What gym move is most likely to make you break wind?

    Squats and sit-ups are two common moves that can cause you to toot at the gym. While farting in public can be embarrassing, it happens to everyone at one time or another.

    Here are a few things that can help minimize the risk of passing gas during a workout: 

    • Avoid high fiber foods, cruciferous vegetables, legumes, carbonated drinks, and sugar alcohols in the hours before your workout.
    • Drink water slowly and avoid chugging or gulping drinks, which causes you to swallow more air into the digestive tract.
    • Go to the bathroom to move your bowels and pass gas before your workout.
  • Can yoga help relieve trapped gas?

    Yes! Yoga poses can help you expel intestinal gas. Movements that include forward bends, squats, knees to chest, twists, and bridges release trapped gas. Child’s pose, happy baby, downward-facing dog, and lying twists are common yoga poses that can help you break wind. 

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tomlin J, Lowis C, Read NW. Investigation of normal flatus production in healthy volunteersGut. 1991;32(6):665-669. doi:10.1136/gut.32.6.665

  2. Johannesson E, Ringström G, Abrahamsson H, Sadik R. Intervention to increase physical activity in irritable bowel syndrome shows long-term positive effects. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(2):600-8. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i2.600

  3. Katz LC, Just R, Castell DO. Body position affects recumbent postprandial reflux. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1994;18(4):280-283. doi:10.1097/00004836-199406000-00004

  4. Gennaro C, Larsen H. Symptomatic approach to gas, belching and bloating with OMT treatment options. Osteopathic Family Physician. 2019;11(2):20-25.

  5. American Academy of Family Physicians. Gas, bloating, and belching. March 1, 2019.

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