We all know that gross feeling after a huge, very rich, meal. I personally feel nauseous, bloated, guilty, and fevered. It’s a hard price to pay for a little indulgence, and I claim it’s not worth it every time it happens. But the indulgences after the odd dinner party/birthday/holiday gathering still happen. It’s not the end of the world. We wouldn’t be human if we were perfect all the time; it’s not like we let it happen frequently.
What’s important after you stuff vast amounts of pasta and chocolate into your face is to find a way to bounce back from it both emotionally and physically. I can help with the physical part. The following will show you 5 stretches and exercises that will give you a little boost and a little detox when you really need it.
Exercises for bloating and detox
The focus of these exercises is to work surrounding muscle groups to allow heat to flow throughout the body, waking up all the muscle groups. We avoid exercises such as sit ups that ‘crunch’ the abdominals because this will likely cause discomfort. Instead, we have exercises that focus on using the core for stability. A huge factor in many of the exercises is roation. When the torso is engaged on rotation, it is similar to wringing out a sponge. Rotational exercises are among the most effective for detox and debloating.
Pin wheel is actually a pre-Pilates exercise for creating scapular mobility. However I find it really effective for stretching the core because of the rotational stretch it incorporates.
- Lying supine, arms are extended should height, feet anchored hip distance apart.
- Reach one arm to lie on top of the other, hips remain still on the mat.
- Repeat each direction 5-6 times.
2. Opposite arm/leg
One of my favorites; opposite arm/leg reach. Because we are focusing de-bloating, I prefer to avoid exercises that directly cause the abs to contract as this may be very uncomfortable (imagine doing a sit-up after eating thanksgiving dinner). This exercise allows us to warm up the surrounding muscles to send some heat into the core. This gets the muscles active without irritating a puffy belly.
- Make sure neck is in line with the spine.
- When arm and leg are extended, try focusing on engaging muscles of the inner thigh to pull leg towards the midline. Many people have a tendency to let their leg veer off to the side.
- Corset the ribcage up and in, abdominals do not release.
3. Opposite arm/leg thread through
Another great stretch that includes rotation for the torso, as well as opening up the hips and the scapula.
- Keep hips parallel to the floor and do not allow one to ‘hike up.’
- allow head to rest on the floor.
- If it’s preferable, let bent arm extend over head to lie straight above you on the mat.
4. Side plank twist
A classic, reinvented to stretch and reinvent abdominal strength. This exercise focuses on oblique strength, another great one for warming up the surrounding muscles.
Make sure to repeat on both sides. For modifications, bottom knee can rest on the mat as torso pulls up and away. feet may be stacked or staggered.
5. Abdominal lean
This exercise focuses directly on the abdominals and back body. This is a great exercise to work the abdominals without any ‘crunchy’ motion that may cause discomfort. We save this exercise for the end because the abdominals have been warmed up by working to stabilize the surrounding muscles from the previous exercises.
Optional props are a long dowel to hold in front (like a broom), a pilates ball, or a light set of hand weights for extra challenge.
- Torso is lined up, hips stacked over knees, shoulders over hips, shoulder blades relaxed down the back, chin lifted.
- Lean back maintaining this alignment until the abs begin to quiver, then engage the hamstrings to return to start.
- Repeat several times, each time sinking a little farther back.
I hope you enjoy these exercises all! You may feel crappy for a day or two, but our bodies have a knack of bouncing back. These exercises will help you bounce back all the faster!