In my last post on rebounding, I shared some of the reasons why I love using a mini-trampoline as part of my daily workout and how it makes fitness fun. Today, I want to share why I love it for digestive health. Whether you have Crohn’s Disease or just suffer from occasional bloating, cramping, and other digestive issues, there are a few additional benefits that a rebounder can provide. It’s not an instant cure-all, but it is one more tool in the tool box!
Exercise in general provides tons of great benefits for digestive health. In a more recent post, I shared a podcast interview between Dr. Anna Cabeca and Dr. Michael Ruscio where they discussed the microbiome and gut health. In short, exercise causes a degree of immunosuppression in the gut and our gut is home to many good bacteria that are important for good health. But, an overzealous immune system (like the ones those of use with IBD have), can attack the good bacteria and cause their numbers to dwindle. However, exercise also modulates certain receptors in the gut that are involved in this process and when the receptors are downregulated through exercise, your immune system is less aggressive toward the healthy bacteria, which might be why exercise is shown to be helpful for those with IBD and IBS.
While many people find it difficult to make fitness a daily part of their lives, I find that having a fun workout (rebounding!) encourages me to do something every day. It doesn’t take much to stimulate the gut and obtain the overall health benefits of moving; and when you can easily start bouncing (increasing the intensity, depending on how you feel) there’s no excuse for not exercising.
Exercise also helps to move food through the large intestine faster. WebMD explains that when this happens, it “limits the amount of water your body absorbs from the stool,” making them easier to pass. “Plus, aerobic exercise speeds up your breathing and heart rate. This helps to stimulate the natural squeezing (or contractions) of muscles in your intestines. Intestinal muscles that squeeze better will help move stools out quickly.”
While there are many forms of exercise that provide digestive benefits, “One movement that is particularly effective for stimulating bowel activity is rebounding off of a small trampoline.” (drjockers.com)
Those who practice yoga, know that twisting movements and various poses are often used to support digestive help by massaging the internal organs and relaxing the gut. According to MindBodyGreen.com, “twisting postures can help to enhance your digestion and encourage your liver and kidneys to flush out toxins…Yoga can also help with bloating, increasing the amount of oxygen to the area…”
So why do I mention yoga and general exercise when I’m writing an article about rebounding? Because rebounding combines the best of both! When I’m dealing with digestive distress, I do gentle bounces on my rebounder while twisting (think of mimicking the movement of slalom skiing or skiing down moguls on the rebounder). Since the gentle bouncing doesn’t leave me sweaty, I can jump in whatever clothes I happen to be wearing and, because it’s portable, I can keep it close by and jump frequently in short bursts throughout the day. No need to change or leave the house!
Stay tuned for my final article in this short series where I’ll guide you in selecting a rebounder and what things you should consider when making a purchase.