Tips for Relieving Intestinal Gas Through Movement

Having intestinal gas is a completely normal part of the digestive process, but at times, gas can be a significant inconvenience. Causes of gas can include eating certain foods, swallowing air while eating, drinking carbonated beverages, and lactose intolerance. When gas is created or introduced into the digestive tract, it needs to get out somehow—and that can happen either via the mouth (belching) or the anus (flatulence).

When intestinal gas is rumbling around in the abdomen, it can lead to bloating and pain. It can also be embarrassing when the stomach is making gurgling noises at an inopportune time, such as during a meeting at work. For those who struggle with gas, it's normal to look around for a home remedy to try to expel it.

There are over-the-counter remedies (and even a few prescription medications) that may help to relieve gas, but these treatments can take time and may have adverse effects. In the case of those who are already taking one or more medications, adding more may not be desirable. Fortunately, there are several body movements to try before turning to medication to alleviate problems with gas.

Go for a Walk

Walking
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The easiest thing to start with in order to expel gas is walking. Walking or participating in any other kind of cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis can help keep the digestive tract functioning properly.

Lie on Your Side

Woman lying on side
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Lying on one side on a bed, couch, or the floor, and drawing the knees up to the chest may also help with gas. This position may help release any of the gas that's in the lower intestine.

It may take more than a few minutes, and moving the legs slowly up to the chest and then back down may also help. Holding onto the knees as they're drawn up to the chest may also help, but don't force the position if it causes more pain.

Squat

Squatting Woman
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Squatting down, by bending the knees until the bottom is almost at the floor, may also help relieve gas. Arms can rest on top of the legs, or hands can be used to stabilize by putting them on the floor or on the back of a chair.

Rest in this position until there's a feeling that the gas is starting to move; in fact, this position may even result in a bowel movement. For those that are able to do them, one added benefit is that squats are a good form of exercise to do on a regular basis.

Lie on Your Back

Woman Doing Yoga
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Lying on the back and drawing both knees up to the chest may also relieve gas. This position may help with passing flatulence, and it's also a good stretch that may be helpful for some people with lower back pain.

Try also pulling one leg up to the chest, using hands to hold it there, lowering it back down to the floor and then pulling the other leg up. For those that are able, you can take it one step further by doing sit-ups or crunches. These are good exercises as well as being a way to pass stubborn intestinal gas.

Seek Help

Massage Therapist Palpating the Abdomen
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If you find that the gas is very painful and nothing seems to help, be sure to bring it up with a physician. Gas is usually not a sign of a more serious problem, but a doctor can help in tracking down the source and offering more solutions. In some cases, changing to a diet free of the foods that cause gas, or getting more exercise like walking, may help.

If making some simple changes does not result in having less gas, a physician may look for other causes or offer a more comprehensive treatment plan. The ultimate goal is to get back to a healthy diet and pass gas without pain and bloating.

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Article Sources
  • Taking a walk after eating a meal, or when gas is causing discomfort, can help move the gas out of the body. Plus, we all need some exercise for better overall health, and a brisk walk is a great way to get in that 30 minutes a day. For those with type 2 diabetes, a walk about 15 minutes after eating can help regulate blood sugar.

    Source:
  • Colberg SR, Zarrabi L, Bennington L, et al. "Postprandial walking is better for lowering the glycemic effect of dinner than pre-dinner exercise in type 2 diabetic individuals." J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2009;10:394-397. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2009.03.015.
  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). Gas in the Digestive Tract.
  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. 21 Feb 2012.