5 Stretches to Speed Up Digestion

Nov 23, 2022

As it turns out, stretching isn't just good for when you're in the gym. There are some stretches that can be utilized to help relieve bloating and promote digestion on a daily basis!

If you have trouble properly digesting after a meal, it can throw a wrench in your day (especially if the next few hours call for physical activity.)

To help you get rid of bloat and ease your digestion troubles, we asked Cameron Pelletier, a Renew Physiotherapist, for some simple stretches he recommends!

Seated Spinal Twist

These twists gently squeeze and wring out our core acting like a massage for the GI tract to help provide some bloating relief!

How To...

  1. Start in a seated position - extend your right leg out in front of you and bend your left leg, keeping the sole of your foot on the floor.
  2. Keep your back straight and keep the left arm straight to support the body. Place your left palm on the mat close to the body.
  3. On an inhale, place your right arm on the outside of your left knee.
  4. Exhale and twist to the left. Hold the twist for 3 breaths, with each breath find space to slowly move deeper into the twist.
  5. On your final inhale, raise your right arm and release the twist. Then repeat on the opposite side!

Knees to Chest

This simple stretch helps to release tension in your lower back and hips but can also provide relief from gas pains and bloating.


How To...

  1. On a mat or comfortable area on the floor, lie down on your back.
  2. Lay flat and inhale deeply (Optional: raise your arms overhead.)
  3. Exhale, and bring one or both knees to your chest. Interlace your fingers together around your shin(s) and hold this position for 3 breaths. (Optional: gently rock side to side.)
  4. On the last exhale, release your leg(s) and let your arms return overhead.

Wall Stretch (Legs Up the Wall)

The Wall Stretch helps reverse the effects of gravity on your digestive system. This position uses belly breaths that allow your diaphragm to help massage your core by extending deep into the stomach cavity. (Plus, it can also help regulate your blood pressure in the process!)

How To... 

  1. Start by sitting on the floor with one hip pressed against the wall (or close to it.)
  2. Carefully swing your legs up, so they are pressed against the wall as you simultaneously lay down on the floor.
  3. Hold this position for 2-4 minutes and focus on taking deep belly breaths.
  4. Return to the starting position by slowly bringing your legs back down to the floor and sitting upright

Seated Side Stretch

During this movement, we stretch and contract the muscles on the side of our torso to massage our core on a different plane of motion. Plus the way this move expands the ribcage makes it easier for us to breathe deeper which is stretch is great for stress release and improving your breathing capacity!

How To...

  1. Sit in a comfortable second position, either with your legs crossed or out in front of you, to feel firmly grounded.
  2. With your right arm, reach over your head towards your left side. As you reach to the side, focus on keeping your chest lifted and bending the spine to stretch your obliques.
  3. Hold this position for five slow breaths, then release and repeat on the opposite side.

Supine Twist

Similar to the Seated Spinal Twist, this twist in this stretch helps to gently wring out your liver and other core organs. This move is great for helping move food and waste along in your digestive system.

How To...

  1.  Lay flat on your back. Keeping your left leg extended and flat on the floor, bend your right knee and bring the right leg up to a 90-degree angle.
  2. Extend your right arm out to the side to the side and use your left arm to gently pull your right knee towards the left side of your body.
  3. Hold this twisted position for 3 deep breaths (Optional: gaze over your right shoulder for an additional twist.) Then, gently return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.


Want to explore more ways to improve the health of your whole body? Click here to schedule a free health screening with a Renew Physiotherapist or Click here to book a complimentary session with a personal trainer to learn how!

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