Exercises and Stretches To Relieve Wrist Strain and Improve Mobility

Your hands and wrist are vital to many essential tasks, such as driving, cooking, eating, and working. For many people, their work requires eight-hour shifts at a desk with their hands continuously pounding away at a keyboard.

The nonstop or relentless typing does strain your wrists and fingers. If you work on a laptop, the strain can worsen because laptop keyboards are smaller and force your wrists and hands into awkward angles.

While there is no quick solution for limiting wrist strain, you have stretch and exercise options to strengthen muscles and improve mobility. Searching online will provide numerous wrist and hand exercises resources, but they all come down to the same five basic movements.

1. Praying Hands

The praying hands exercise or stretch is one of the easiest ways to improve wrist flexibility. You want to stand with your hands touching, palms together. Your elbows Should also touch each other. Your hands should be parallel to your face.

As you press your hands together, slowly separate your elbows. Your palms should remain touching as they move down toward your belly button. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat.

You can add another element to the stretch. Extend one arm out from the body at shoulder height, palm down. Allow your hand to go limp. With your other hand, grab the fingers of the limp hand and pull them back. Hold the position for another 30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.

2. Rising Fists

You can also choose a seated stretch. Lay your forearms and hands on your thighs with palms facing up. Stretch your fingers wide before slowly closing them into a fist. You do not have to clench your fist, only close it. Keep your forearms on your legs, and raise your fists towards your body, bending from the wrists. Hold the position for 10 seconds before lowering your fist back to your legs and opening your hands wide. Repeat the stretch a minimum of 10 times. 

3. Squeezing Tennis Balls

Using a tennis ball or stress ball can help you build hand and wrist strength. However, it does require commitment. You want to squeeze the ball as hard as you can for five to 10 seconds. It would be best if you repeated the hold 10 or more times.

The exercise should not hurt. Stop and talk to your doctor if you feel any pain while performing the squeeze. You could have a wrist injury that needs assessment.

4. Performing Figure-Eights

Yoga is usually seen as a full-body exercise routine, but it also has several movements that focus on specific areas of the body. Figure-eights focus on hand and wrist mobility.

To perform the exercise, you need to interlace your hands and position them in front of the body. Keep your elbows at your sides and move your hands in a figure-eight position — your hands should alternate the top position. Perform the exercise in intervals of 15 seconds.

5. Trying the Desk Press

A desk press is another exercise to help build wrist strength. The movement focuses on the muscles running from your wrists to your elbows.

In a seated position, place your hands under the desktop. Your palms should be face up against the underside of the desk. Press against the bottom of the desk for 10 seconds. Repeat.

Working at a computer all day can result in hand and wrist injuries. If you choose to fit some of the above exercises and stretches into your day, you can reduce the risks of injury.

4 Everyday Chores That Work Your Core

Whether you’re a parent and primary caretaker of your home, a busy professional or a carefree singleton in the prime of his or her life, you may struggle to find time for a legitimate workout, much less develop an exercise routine. If this is the case, fret not, as you can still work that core and achieve a physique of which you can be proud. How? You may wonder. Simply by doing what you do — maintaining your home and the other things you own.

The household chores you do every day — and even those you do infrequently, such as painting or dusting the fans — works your core just as effectively as an abs day at the gym. So, which chores are more effective than others? The answers may surprise you.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming doesn’t just bust the dust — it also busts the gut. In all seriousness though, pushing a vacuum around works the triceps and extends the lateral muscles, especially if you use an older model. The chore is extra effective if you go all out and move around furniture while you’re at it.

You can make the most of this daily or weekly chore by treating vacuuming as you would any other workout and using proper “gym technique.” Squat when plugging in and unplugging the appliance, push with your legs when moving furniture and hold your abs tight as you sweep away.

Raking Leaves

If you’ve ever raked leaves or mowed grass before, you know just how effective of a “workout” this chore is. Like vacuuming, raking works the arms and abdominal muscles. It also works the legs, back and buttock muscles as well. Raking, all around, is a great workout.

You can get extra points by bagging the leaves and hauling the load to the curb. However, be smart in your technique and seek help from a spouse, neighbor, child or friend. Claiming to have thrown out your back hauling leaves is slightly more embarrassing than saying you threw it out on leg day.

Painting

Painting just doesn’t just work your core; it works your whole body. Painting requires you to squat, stretch, press and rotate parts of your body in ways you don’t rotate them in everyday life. It’s because of its impressive benefits that Mr. Miyagi used fence painting as a form of discipline for Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid. If a paint project ever presents itself, no matter how small, volunteer yourself to lend a helping hand.

Power Washing

Like leaf raking, if you’ve ever power washed anything, you know just how effective it is as a workout. Power washing forces you to control a hose that has a steady 2,400 PSI of water pulsing through it. Moreover, it requires overhead lifting, rotational movement and squatting, all of which work not just your abs but also, your whole body.

To make the most of your power washing endeavors, plan to spend a whole day doing it. This is not necessary to reap the most benefits but to ensure you don’t strain any muscles in the process (that’s how effective power washing is).

You don’t need a gym membership or even hours of free time to work your core. All you need is the motivation to do what you already do, and that is to maintain your home and property.

5 Benefits of Trampoline Cardio

When was the last time you jumped on a trampoline? Many adults have fond memories of playing around on large backyard trampolines, but as they get older, they seem to think there is no more room for a trampoline in their lives. Thankfully, there is always room to jump for joy. 

Trampolines provide an excellent cardiovascular workout that is both healthy and fun. If you would like to revisit that childhood joy again, pick up a mini trampoline and take advantage of the many benefits of trampoline cardio. 

1. Improved Bone Density

As people age, their bone density is not what it once was, making their bodies more fragile and injury-prone. Research proves that the bone density of competitive trampolinists is higher than others in their peer group.  

While you might not become a competitive trampolinist, performing regular trampoline exercises can still improve your bone density in the spine and hip regions. Studies suggest that routine trampolining can also reduce the odds of developing osteoporosis. 

2. Increased Strength

People often assume that a trampoline only uses the leg muscles because they associate jumping with the legs. However, a trampoline involves much more than just the lower half of the body.

A trampoline forces you to use the entire momentum of your body, which engages several muscle groups. When jumping on a trampoline, you use your legs, core, back, and more to maintain control and balance, allowing you to work out several areas at once.

3. Improved Core Strength

Trampolining is an exercise of rebounding or regaining balance and maintaining momentum. Several studies indicate that trampoline exercises relate to improved coordination, balance, and motor skills.

Additionally, as a trampoline is good for balance, the exercise focuses on the core muscles. By developing the core, people can better maintain their balance, which is beneficial to those who are more prone to falls, such as seniors.

4. Increased Heart Health

The heart is one of the most important muscles in the body, and cardio exercise is one of the only ways to work out this vital muscle. The trampoline provides an excellent low-impact solution to cardio exercise, especially for those who can no longer run.

If you choose to use the trampoline, you can improve your heart health. A trampoline workout can help lower your resting heart rate, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels.

5. Reduced Stress

One of the most essential aspects of sustained health is a stress-free life. Unfortunately, as most adults know, stress is a natural symptom of existence. Therefore, it becomes necessary to find ways to relieve stress.

Exercise is one of the most effective stress relief methods, so too is meditation and relaxation. However, did you know that jumping can also produce endorphins, helping to relax the body and increase joy?

Jumping on a trampoline is the literal interpretation of jumping for joy. The rebounding action of trampoline exercises results in the constant tensing and relaxing of muscles, releasing endorphins, and stretching the muscles. When the exercise is complete, your muscles are loose, and you feel relaxed.

The trampoline is one of the best cardio workouts, and it is fun. If you have not jumped for joy in a while, consider picking up a mini trampoline and getting started with some fundamental routines.

The Tremendous Benefits of Cycling

When most people get their license and a brand-new used car, their bicycles wind up in the garage collecting dust. As adults, bike riding is a childhood pastime; it serves a minimal purpose in the hustle and bustle of grown folks' business.  

The simplistic attitude is somewhat fair when thinking of a bicycle as an effective mode of transportation, especially for the multitude of adult obligations. However, a bike is still fun, potentially relaxing, and a beneficial exercise machine.

1. Cardiovascular Health

Cycling, above all else, is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Whether you use a stationary indoor bike or a standard bicycle, cycling can improve your system's circulation and oxygen distribution, and it can increase your aerobic tolerance or capacity. 

Depending on the form of cycling you do, the activity can also improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Stationary cycling classes that incorporate high-intensity interval training seem to benefit these areas most.

2. Low-Impact

Most people acknowledge the advantages of running for cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, running is hard on the knees, hips, and ankles. The amount of force on the joints, ligaments, and tendons can lead to long-term and compounding damage in runners.  

Cycling reduces the shock on the system. Riding a bike is considered a low-impact form of exercise, meaning your body can still receive cardiovascular benefits without risking potential injuries or degradation of the joints. 

3. Coordination

Regardless of the style of cycling you gravitate towards, the activity requires significant coordination. However, beginners should not let the need for coordination stop them from enjoying riding. 

The repetition of cycling will establish greater coordination over time. The more you ride over busy bike trails or participate in rhythm-based cycling classes, the more your abilities will start to rise to the challenge.

4. Stamina

When you start cycling, you might only get around the block or last a portion of a class. Do not let assumed failure deter you. Many people set expectations beyond their current abilities, which is why setting smaller goals, to begin with, is best.  

Set a goal for a single trip around the neighborhood or a shorter distance. The goal you set should be manageable and somewhat easy until you learn your limits. The beauty of riding a bike is the activity is compounding. You will build endurance and stamina the longer you train. 

5. Posture

Many people do not consider posture when cycling. Then hop on the bike, grab the handlebars, and start pedaling. Unfortunately, the lackluster approach to riding can result in back pain. 

Posture is a crucial aspect of cycling and riding comfortably. When you mount your bicycle, you want a neutral spine, meaning it is straight and relaxed, not arched and strained. Your shoulders should be down and back, not curved in a "whatever" position. Practicing an accurate riding position can improve your posture even off the bike.

6. Strength Training

Believe it or not, riding a bicycle is a form of strength training, primarily for the lower body and core muscles. Cycling requires balancing muscles, making it an excellent exercise for older individuals. 

You can increase your workout by using the various gear settings or choosing more challenging terrain. An uphill ride will really challenge your leg and core muscles. 

A bicycle might spark images of favorite childhood memories, but cycling is not a pastime; it is a current and effective form of exercise. If you haven't ridden in a while, maybe it's time to dust off the saddle.

Can Walking Be as Effective as Running?

Walking or running, which is the better exercise? People constantly debate the best form of cardiovascular exercise. When performing a search online, you will likely find communities that back each method of training, which they can and should. Each activity is beneficial in its own right, meaning there is no shame in using both in your workouts. Variety is often more preferential than any one exercise to maintaining health and building muscle.

The problem comes when people argue over the effectiveness of either running or walking. When compared apples to apples — flat running versus flat walking — running wins with the calorie burn. However, running is more taxing on your knees, ankles, etc., which is why many people, especially those dealing with arthritis or injuries, prefer walking to running.

Truthfully, there is no reason you cannot experience an equivalent calorie burn while walking. You either need to walk for longer periods or start an incline regimen. Walking at a continuous incline burns more calories than flat walking, and it can burn a similar number of calories compared to flat running.

The Advantages of Incline Walking

While running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, it is an aggressive and potentially abusive activity. Your knees and other joints sustain multiple and repetitive impacts that can worsen existing injuries or lead to damage later in life. 

Fitness experts have known that walking is less damaging than running for a long time. The impacts the body contends with during walking are less vigorous, softer. The big drawback to walking compared to running is the calorie deficit. Flat running and flat walking are not equivalent when it comes to calorie burn, and walkers will need to double or even triple their time exercising to receive the same benefits s runners. However, walking at an incline changes everything.

Incline walking engages stabilizer muscles and requires more energy than walking on a flat surface. The muscle engagement and energy burn are equivalent to flat running, if not better, in some ways.

By engaging the back, hips, and core, incline walking helps develop muscles key to balance. As people age, balance tends to weaken, becoming a significant threat to safety. With more developed stabilizer muscles, aging individuals can reduce the risks of falling and the injuries that stem from it.

Aside from building critical muscles, incline walking is still walking, so the typical advantages of walking over running remain, primarily reduced impact injuries. Walking does not require the same footpad collision with the concrete, meaning the body does not need to absorb as much force, even when incline walking.

Both Exercises Are Beneficial

No one is saying that you should never run. Running is an effective form of exercise. Still, it is not safe for everyone. 

People at a greater risk of injury should avoid running. Walking is preferential for those with arthritis and other musculoskeletal injuries. While flat walking will not provide the same calorie loss as running, incline walking does and in the same amount of time.

When choosing or planning your exercise routine, you should consult with your primary care physician to determine what activities are safe and most beneficial. Even if you cannot run, incline walking can provide a safer and equivalent form of exercise, especially from a calorie-burn perspective.

Do you have any experience with incline walking, or are you willing to give it a try? Leave a comment below.

8 Reasons To Love Kettlebells

Typically, when people want to focus on fitness, they invest in large machines and equipment. The expense for a full gym setup can reach into the thousands, but there are effective full-body alternatives, including kettlebells.

Kettlebells are one of the most effective pieces of home gym equipment currently on the market. The odd-shaped balls with large angular handles are popular among trainers and enthusiasts because of the ease of design and integration into workout routines.

If you are looking to create your home gym, you should start with a variety of kettlebells. These unique tools provide several benefits for the average to experienced fitness level.

1. Grip

Have you ever wanted to improve your grip strength but struggled to find an effective tool or piece of equipment. The kettlebell not only requires grip strength but also helps build strength in the hands.

Using the equipment as a preventative for specific genetic conditions, such as arthritis, can help prolong use and movement. The best part is, the kettlebells come in various weights to suit all skill and strength levels.

2. Cardio

A kettlebell workout is about continuous movement. Because you maintain motion, these workouts are excellent alternatives to cardio workouts requiring running, meaning you can get your cardio in while avoiding unnecessary impacts.

3. Space

Many homeowners want to create a private gym in their house but lack the space for large equipment. Even free weights can take up a significant amount of room. Kettlebells do not, thankfully. You can have a complete set of kettlebells without taking up more than a corner of your basement, garage, or bedroom.

Additionally, if you want to avoid having unsightly gym equipment taking up permanent residence in your bedroom or another area, consider the size of kettlebells. The equipment is small and can easily be stored in a closet or under a bed.

4. Portability

The small size of kettlebells means they are incredibly portable. You can exercise anywhere in your home, and if the urge strikes, you can pack the kettlebells in your car and head to your favorite outdoor location.

5. Time

Because kettlebells provide a full-body workout, the routine is typically quicker than using traditional equipment. You can find many training series to coach you through the workout routines. Additionally, you can look on YouTube for tutorials if you want to save some money.

6. Coordination

There are many kettlebell exercises that require hand-eye coordination. Additionally, depending on the routine and stance, workouts can require full-body coordination. Again, this places kettlebells above other equipment.

7. Balance

Beyond coordination, kettlebells require balance. The entire process is an excellent option for people wanting to improve their flexibility, balance, and mobility. However, before you opt for kettlebells, consider talking to your doctor to discuss your plans.

8. Conditioning

Kettlebells are excellent tools for full-body conditioning. From cardio to weightlifting, you will build muscle and stamina throughout your body.

When looking to create a workout space at home, wait to purchase large machines and weight sets. Kettlebells provide many of the same benefits while saving you money and space.

Would you ever use kettlebells? Comment below.

The 3 Best Yoga Moves To Stretch and Relax a Desk Chair Body

Many people work desk jobs, which typically equates to a sedentary lifestyle despite being super productive during your eight to 10-hour shift. Beyond being compared to smoking or cancer, sitting all day can lead to sore hips and a knotted back.

While there isn’t much to be done at work, aside from purchasing a better chair or a standing desk, you can improve your health and wellness outside of the office. Yoga is one activity that is surprisingly helpful when it comes to relieving sore muscles and stiff joints. The focus on breathing, stretching, and slow and controlled movements are the key to relaxing your body and finding relief. While all yoga is beneficial, several moves can help ease a rigid desk chair body.

1. Standing Forward Fold

The forward fold can help relieve compressed muscles by slowly stretching them. It is a simple move but quite effective when performed correctly. You want to stand with your feet slightly apart, about hips-width. With your hands on your hips, inhale deeply and stretch your arms straight out above you. As you exhale, you want to bend at the hips, folding forward and engaging your abs. Tuck your chin to your chest and relax your shoulders as you extend the top of your head toward the floor, stretching your spine. You want to keep your legs as straight as possible and shift your weight forward. You can either let your hands hang down toward the floor or grab the opposite elbow. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before slowly returning to an upright position.

2. Downward Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog pose focuses on strengthening all those areas that are stiff or sore from sitting all day: shoulders, back, hamstrings, and calves. To perform the pose, start on your hands and knees, your hands should rest on the floor beneath the shoulders, and your knees aligned with your hips. Inhaling, tuck your toes under your heels, and exhaling, lift your hips into an upside-down V shape. Spreading your fingers wide, create a line from your elbow to your middle finger on each side. Relax your head. Hold for 30 seconds.

Try to improve your posture every time you perform this pose. Work on lowering your heels to the ground and straightening your legs for the best possible stretch.

3. Cat-Cow Pose

The shoulders, chest, and spine tend to be the most affected by sitting all day. The Cat-Cow pose is a way to open up these areas while mobilizing the spine. Start in the same position as the downward dog pose, on your hands and knees, each aligned under the shoulders and the hips, respectively. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, you want to pull your belly button up toward the spine, curving your back toward the ceiling. Allowing your neck to relax, bring your chin toward your chest. You are now in the cat position.

As you inhale, let your belly drop toward the floor and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone toward the ceiling without straining your neck. You are now in the cow position.

Cycle through each position 10 times, controlling your breathing and focusing on posture. Remember to limit tension on the neck. These poses are intended to focus on the back, shoulders, and chest.

While yoga has many benefits overall, these three positions offer significant benefits to those who sit at a desk all day. What are some poses you would suggest? Leave a comment.

Which is Better: Pilates or Barre?

The Barre workout method has been gaining traction over the last several years, motivating several gyms to institute classes and programs. The technique is of particular interest to former dancers or those who admire most professional dancers' muscular physique and lean appearance. The most interesting thing about the Barre method is that it is advertised as a complement to Pilates and yoga and not an alternative. In truth, while more intensive, the workout does incorporate several principles and movements of Pilates, but it is more focused on the outcome of a dancer's body. Despite the apparent differences in styles, the goals of Pilates and Barre are pretty similar; Therefore, while most people want to look at exercise programs as an either-or situation, that is not the case with these two methods.

Looking Into the History of Each Method

Out of all the workout methods, there are few with such a storied history as Pilates. The founder of the technique, Joseph Pilates, created it while imprisoned in an internment camp during World War I. He wanted to help fellow cot-ridden prisoners maintain their health and mobility. Coming from such humble beginnings, Pilates has grown into a fitness and wellness program used by people from many walks of life, from pro-athletes to post-op patients.

While not as endearing or awe-inspiring, Lotte Berk, a dancer and teacher, is credited with inventing the original Barre method, the Lotte Berk Method, in 1959. She based her program on ballet, focusing on the core. The Barre method has evolved to incorporate movements from Pilates and yoga and focuses on measured movements, emphasizing form.

Similarities Between Barre and Pilates

Both Barre and Pilates are mental and physical disciplines. Each leads to similar results: improved flexibility and posture, sculpted and toned muscles, increased flexibility and mobility. Additionally, neither method requires high strain on the body, making it safer for most people than other exercise programs.

As mental disciplines, each method requires precision and focus to perform techniques. The level of concentration can lead to increased clarity and mind-body cognizance. Additionally, as each is a form of exercise, they result in the release of endorphins, causing feelings of relaxation and reduced stress levels.

Differences Between the Barre and Pilates Methods

The most apparent difference between the two methods is the use of equipment. Barre is a minimalist routine, using only a barre, mat, the occasional exercise ball, and your body weight. Alternatively, Pilates does require light hand weights and magic circles or Pilates wheels attached to some apparatus.

Barre also requires participants to push their muscles to the point of fatigue by focusing on intense, small movement in an aerobic setting. Pilates is non-aerobic and focuses on all muscle groups with the incorporation of various small and large movements. The primary goal of Pilates is to improve flexibility and core strength through a full-body workout.

The Primary Takeaway

Neither Pilates nor Barre is a superior workout by comparison. Each method achieves similar goals, and both live in a similar community. If anything, Barre is an excellent complement to Pilates, as the former often requires a cardiovascular or aerobic partner to achieve maximum results.

While Pilates and Barre are a part of a larger group of exercise methods, each provides unique benefits. One approach does not overshadow the other. If you are interested in a fun and effective regimen, consider using both methods to achieve superior results. If you only want to choose one, consider your current physical state.

Which method do you choose? Leave a comment.

Strength Training: The Forgotten Key to Weight Loss Success

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. However, when discussing weight loss, people often narrow their focus to diet and cardio. There is no denying that cardio is a valuable tool in a weight loss journey, but it should not be the only form of exercise you use.

Strength training often has more to offer individuals focusing on maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. In many ways, strength training might even be more beneficial than cardio to dieters and fitness enthusiasts.

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training encompasses any form of physical activity that raises the body's heart rate and uses resistance or tension to activate the muscle. It usually includes bodyweight or body-weight-based exercise.

Bodyweight exercises are always a good start, as they incorporate movement and cardiovascular fitness. However, movements that involve resistance or pulling are also a good starting point. Many of these movements include sitting back on your heels while holding a weight, or moving the weight across your body while sitting in a chair.  Several examples of strength training and bodyweight exercises include crunches, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges, and more. Additionally, for the more advanced individuals, weight lifting is also a form of strength training utilizing barbells, dumbbells, and other weighted or resistance tools.

Why Is Strength Training Important to Weight Loss?

While cardio increases endurance and helps burn calories, strength training increases both physical and metabolic strength. Additionally, while weight loss is linked to cardiovascular activity, it has also been tied to muscle building, decreasing stress levels, increased energy levels, improved sleep, and overall improved mood, all of which are improved with strength training.

Why Cardio May Not Be Enough

Cardio training is excellent for losing weight in the short term, but research shows that there is little evidence to suggest that it will be of much use for long-term weight loss. This is because cardio is more focused on burning calories that stick around for a while. However, strength training will burn fat more quickly. It also has the added benefit of reducing the risk of injury. In addition, research shows that strength training can help with losing weight in all areas of the body. Strength training might be the key to lasting weight loss, but many people still feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting started. This can be a particular problem for fitness beginners who are hoping to maintain weight loss for long periods of time.

How To Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Routine

People often overestimate the level of commitment required to start an exercise routine. Most experts recommend 30 minutes per day or at least 150 minutes per week. You do not have to complete the 30 minutes in one consecutive activity; you can split it up.

As far as the types of exercises, they typically fall into four main groups: push, pull, squat, and bench press. All of these exercises allow you to improve the strength of the muscles within your body. Many people use these types of activities to increase their overall health and wellness, and these will certainly aid in your quest to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Note that while some exercises are going to require weights, other activities can be performed without. 

Strength training is a valuable and necessary tool in your weight loss journey. However, as with any new exercise regimen, talk to your doctor first. Attempting to lift weights or perform exercises that you are not ready for can result in injuries. A doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer can help you customize a workout routine that is appropriate for your current abilities.

6 Amazing (Natural) Remedies for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is more common than you may think. Anywhere from 25 million to 45 million people in the U.S. have it. That means around 1 in 10 Americans may have IBS symptoms! What can you do about it? 

Tip 1: Stop Listening to Family Members

One of the most important ways to deal with the symptoms of IBS is to ignore what other people tell you. There will always be a well-meaning family member offering to share the "secret" to curing bowel problems. The thing is, IBS is very different from other digestive problems, and some “common-sense” diet tips can make things worse.

Let me give you an example: fiber. Everyone knows that you need more fiber to help ease digestive discomfort, right? Well, with IBS, that’s not always the case. Yes, you need dietary fiber, but too much can actually trigger bloating, gas or constipation issues.

Tip 2: Go for a Walk

One of the worst triggers for IBS isn’t a food at all. It’s stress. There’s a direct connection between how you feel emotionally and how your colon works. Depression, anxiety or stressful events can trigger bowel problems.

Want a great solution for stress and IBS at the same time? Exercise! Working out is good for your body both physically and emotionally. It relieves stress, encourages healthy bowel movements, improves your self-esteem and even benefits your sleep quality — all of which are great for IBS symptoms.

Choose moderate-intensity exercises that get your heart rate up but feel relaxing:

  • Walking

  • Going for a calm bike ride

  • Doing low-impact aerobics

  • Swimming

  • Stretching

Pro tip: Exercising also makes it easier to pass gas, especially if you’re outdoors. You didn’t hear it from me!

Tip 3: Be Balanced

If you have IBS, try to take things slow and steady when it comes to diet changes. Let’s say you read an article on the health benefits of Greek yogurt. Normally, if you’re like me, you’d rush to the store to buy a couple of gallons right away! To avoid IBS symptoms, however, it’s better to avoid extremes. Start slow and work your way up.

Tip 4: Skip FODMAPs for a While

FODMAPs are carbohydrates that many people with IBS have trouble digesting. Unfortunately, FODMAPs appear in a surprising number of otherwise awesome foods:

  • Wheat

  • Rice

  • Some fruit (mainly watermelon, apples, mangoes, peaches, pears and cherries)

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Some vegetables (such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms and snow peas)

  • Beans and lentils

  • Dairy foods with lactose (cow’s milk, soft cheeses and yogurt)

Take note of foods that cause problems for you personally. If you suspect certain grains make irritation worse, ignore Dr. Oz and listen to what your gut is saying. Identifying your personal triggers can be huge for avoiding IBS symptoms.

Tip 5: Try Peppermit Oil (in Capsules)

There's some evidence that taking peppermint oil can help with IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas and bloating. This plant oil appears to help the muscles of your intestines relax while soothing irritated or painful spots from the inside. Go with capsules to avoid problems with heartburn.

Tip 6: Take Care of Your Gut With Probiotics

A healthy gut has a blend of over 300 different types of microorganisms that work together to protect your digestive lining, break down foods, make vitamins for your body, absorb nutrients and even improve your emotions! Getting plenty of probiotics can help with pain, boating, bowel movements and overall intestinal comfort.

You can find probiotics in several foods:

  • Yogurt

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kefir

  • Kimchi

  • Pickles

  • Kombucha

But wait — didn’t I just say that lactose in dairy can make IBS symptoms worse? If you notice that yogurt bothers you, there are several options. You could choose a lactose-free Greek yogurt. Or you can simply take a probiotic supplement and avoid the fuss!