How to Beat the Bloats

Thursday, December 29, 2016
How to Beat the Bloats

Dear Coach,


I am in my early thirties and lately I’ve noticed an increasing problem with water retention in my body. I feel bloated all the time! I would rather not take medication to address the issue, and so I was wondering if exercising could help me drain this excess fluid out of my system. If exercising does help, what types of exercises or what kind of workout should I do to combat this issue?



B. Yammine

Dear B. Yammine,


Water retention can be quite annoying. Understanding its causes can help you take the appropriate measures to avoid it, or at least minimize the bloated feeling you mentioned. Apart from the monthly premenstrual syndrome, most often the cause of water retention is related to salty and processed foods which are high in sodium. Sometimes, the cause of retaining excess water is due to hormonal ups and downs, in which case you need to consult your doctor since exercising alone would not solve the problem.


However, exercising can certainly help you drain some of the retained fluid out of your body, and if you exercise regularly, you can keep the water retention level down to a minimum. You need to exercise on a regular basis, especially via cardiovascular training (running, cycling…), to flush out the water and salt through sweating, heightened respiration, and increased urine flow.


Exercising for 45 to 60 minutes three times a week can widen your blood vessels, increasing the amount of fluid that goes to your kidneys to be excreted, thus, allowing the body to get rid of the excess water more efficiently. Exercising the calves can also help. Contracting the calf muscles can constrict the veins and push the blood back to the heart and upper body, consequently promoting better blood circulation. Lying down with the feet raised up has similar effect; it enables the fluid collected in the legs to circulate throughout the body and head to the kidneys for excretion.


Another remedy for your water retention problem is to exercise in deep water. By so doing, the pressure of the water forces the excess water out of the tissues and into the bladder. Exercising in the water should be done with moderate intensity, and the water temperature should be somewhere between 27 and 32degrees.


Some diet tips to avoid water retention would include eating small meals, sipping on herbal tea, and increasing fluid intake. Some foods and liquids have slight diuretic effects and can be beneficial when used in moderation. For example, a little lemon juice in your water will cause more frequent urination and stop water retention; a glass of cranberry juice daily may minimize your water retention as well. If all of the above fail, and if you suffer more than just a little water retention, you should see a physician for a thorough checkup because your problem may be serious and could require medication or medical treatment.


Best of luck

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