Surprisingly this is a continuation of our bowel series. I spent some of the holiday weekend kayaking with a good friend. She pointed out how we were using our core, and of course our pelvic floor…as people tend to do when they are with me! And of course, we were! And of course it is always great to find ways to strengthen without really thinking about it being strengthening!
So yes, we worked our abdominal muscles right alongside our pelvic floor as we explored some coves at the lake. But how, you might be wondering, does this relate to bowel health? Let me explain…
First, strong and healthy abdominal wall and pelvic floor contribute to healthy gut function. Exercise keeps the diaphragm and pelvic floor coordinated, stimulates bowel motility and keeps blood and oxygen pumping through the nervous system. All working toward good bowel health.
Second, being out in nature and experiencing it is a great way to reduce stress. Stress is a huge problem for gut function.
Stress = GUT SLOW DOWN.
Exercise + Nature = Stress reduction!!
Third, playing and being a kid again is a great way to stimulate gut health! Let me just say that this friend in particular is the perfect one to play with! She makes me bring out the kid in me too, and appreciate smaller things, like all the birds we saw, and the waterfall we discovered. IT seems silly, but being playful and finding excitement in small things does a whole lot for your gut health.
Last, connection is huge for lowering stress and improving gut health. Isolation and loneliness are as bad for your health as heart disease and obesity!! So, finding a group or friend who enjoys activities that you do too, can be so beneficial for us. Laughter and connection are such a great way to stimulate gut health and overall mental and emotional health too!
The gut functions well when we are in a good rhythm, when heart rate is good, when blood pressure is right and when our emotional state is in a good balance. believe it or not, your thoughts help your gut function better, when they are happy, healthy and positive! Exercise is great, but find ways to have fun, connect with nature and others, and play a little while you do it!
Huge shout out to my dear friend Dawn for inspiring this post and always seeing the fun, excitement and good in ordinary stuff. You bring our the best in me!
–Sarah Dominguez, MSPT, WCS