Picture this: You're spending the afternoon in your backyard, soaking up the summer sunshine with a group of your closest friends. The scents of flowers, sunscreen, and the grill cooking up all your favorite veggies fills your nose as you talk, laugh, and make plans for what the rest of the summer will hold.
That night, you feel happy and full. Actually, you're very full. One beer turned into three, you somehow had two black bean burgers, and you went to town on those fudgy peanut butter brownies. Long story short? You're bloated.
It happens, and here at mbg we believe there's nothing more important than truly living your life—even if that means eating a little too much delicious food once in a while. But a bloated belly is uncomfortable, and it can make it hard to fall asleep. So if you're dealing with bloat or want to prevent bloat in the first place while still enjoying yourself, here are some workouts that can help.
Go for a run.
If the last thing you want to do when you're bloated is go for a run, I don't blame you. But if you want to awaken your digestive tract and get things moving, wait a few hours after eating, lace up your sneakers, and hit the pavement.
"On top of doing your digestive tract some favors, sweat also helps clear your skin and your mood," says Michelle Cady, New York-based health and running coach and founder of FitVista. "Our bodies release waste products in three ways: through urine, feces, and sweat. When they feel a bit icky, I like to ask my clients this question: When was the last time you really sweated? Usually that's all you need to reset and re-establish feeling like your best self."
And if running really isn't going to do it for you, or you want an immediately bloating remedy, that's fine—go for a walk instead. "Put on comfy walking shoes and get in a 30- to 75-minute walk," says Michelle. "You'll come back feeling so much better; I promise."
Mix up your workouts with jump ropes and boxing gloves.
If you've indulged a bit, why not keep the fun going by mixing up your workouts? While we don't recommend any of these exercises immediately after eating, 12-Minute Athlete founder Krista Stryker suggests busting any residual bloat with HIIT workouts. If you need ideas, think jump ropes, plyometrics, boxing, or sprinting. "You want to work up a good sweat and get your heart rate racing," she explains.
We'll take any excuse to box.
Embrace it. And dance.
Here's the thing about bloat: A lot of it comes from stress on the body. So if you can find a way to make that stress melt away, your bloat will probably go with it. For Thyroid Yoga founder Fern Olivia, that means letting loose and dancing.
"When I look in the mirror and notice a bloated belly, I do a little naked dance and embrace it," she tells mbg. "It's truly a miracle how I begin to de-bloat when I'm kind and compassionate to myself. This is something I've learned in my workout obsession "The Class," which is a blend of cardio and strengthening moves with a dose of mindfulness and spirituality.
It includes cardio exercises like running and jumping jacks, bootcamp-style squats and downward-dog push-ups, which will help you sweat off any heaviness—plus a calming seated meditation to ease you out of the sweat session and into Zen mode while feeling incredibly confident and secure about your powerful body. Even if you don't have access to The Class where you live, you can definitely do some version of that!"
So if you're feeling a little bloated, take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, and get moving. You'll be back to your old self in no time.