Try for freeTry for free
Expert GuidanceHow Movement Aids Digestion

How Movement Aids Digestion

We know that food is fuel for physical activity — but did you know that physical activity is actually important to fuel healthy digestion? Learn more from Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, a family physician and wellness expert.

Try 14 days free

Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

Try 14 days free
Better mental health starts with Headspace

We know that eating the right food to fuel physical activity is important, but did you know that physical activity is actually important to fuel proper digestion? (gentle music) I'm Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, a board-certified family physician and wellness expert. My patients often come to me with questions about how to improve their digestion, and even though we discuss a thorough list of lifestyle factors, one of the first things that I recommend is to get moving. So today, I'm gonna give you a few simple tips to help you improve your digestion through movement. Our digestive process is a beautifully-synchronized series areas of activities that are happening without us even being aware. But when something is off in our gut, our bodies let us know. We may experience uncomfortable symptoms, like heartburn and upset stomach and bloating. While things like eating the right foods for our bodies and sleeping well can play a role in proper digestion, movement is also a critical piece of the puzzle. Let's look at how to move to ensure your digestion works as best as it possibly can. (gentle music continues) Have you ever been told that you shouldn't go swimming right after eating? Well, there's actually some truth to that. While physical activity helps with healthy digestion for the most part, you do need to be careful about eating too much, too close to your workout. Normally when you eat, your blood flow is directed towards your gut to help you digest your food. But if you begin to work out, your blood flow will be redirected towards your heart and other muscles. Unfortunately, this means that the gut is left unable to properly digest your food, and can lead to symptoms like heartburn or an upset stomach. So if you like to eat before physical activity, make sure that you're eating at least 45 minutes to even a few hours before you exercise, depending on what or how much you're eating. And if you like to exercise before you eat, make sure that you keep yourself well-hydrated, as dehydration is another common cause of poor digestion and gastrointestinal issues. (gentle music continues) Going for a brisk walk specifically after eating a meal, even for just 10 minutes, can promote healthy blood circulation and improve digestion. Walking after a meal speeds up the time it takes food to travel from the stomach to the small intestine, which can help you feel more comfortable sooner after eating. Research shows that post-meal walks also have a beneficial effect on blood sugar, and can also lower instances of acid reflux since digestion is occurring faster. So how soon after a meal can you lace up the sneakers? A general rule-of-thumb is to wait about an hour after a heavy or rich meal. If you've just had a snack or a small meal, you can likely head out sooner, but you'll ultimately want to listen to how your body is feeling, either way. Doing regular aerobic exercise,...


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration4 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

    More about Andy
  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

    More about Eve
  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

    More about Dora
  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

    More about Kessonga
  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

    More about Rosie
Your lifelong guide to better mental health

Your lifelong guide to better mental health

Stress, sleep, and all the challenging emotions — care for your mind with the everyday mental health app that's shown to make a difference.

Try 14 days free
Look After Your Mind

Look after your mind

Proven guided meditations and programs to help you stress less, sleep more soundly, and better navigate life’s challenges

Science Backed


Studies show that using Headspace for 30 days can reduce stress, increase resilience, and improve overall well-being

Explore Content

Explore 1000+ 
expert-led exercises

Access our library of meditations, breathing exercises, and guidance videos for stress, sleep, focus, everyday anxiety , parenting, and more.

Member reviews

Hear from some of our members

Your app brings so much peace and tolerance to our home.




Changing my thoughts has allowed me to change my life.




The stress and loneliness courses … taught me how to comfort myself.




Headspace provides me with … a connection to myself, and a disconnection from negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations.




Related to 'How Movement Aids'

How the Body Reacts to Food

Expert Guidance5 min

Pro tips on noticing how food makes you feel.

More to explore

Beginning Meditation


Reframe Stress and Relax


New and Popular


Becoming a Mindful Parent

    • Terms & conditions
    • Privacy policy
    • Consumer Health Data
    • Your privacy choices
      Privacy Choices Icon
    • CA Privacy Notice
  • © 2024 Headspace Inc.
  • Terms & conditions
  • Privacy policy
  • Consumer Health Data
  • Your privacy choices
    Privacy Choices Icon
  • CA Privacy Notice