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Gastrointestinal Problems Lessen With Exercise

The avalanche of studies I've posted just this year about the wonderful benefits exercise provides -- especially if you suffer from obesity-- just keep on coming... This time, researchers have found, not surprisingly, obesity coupled with a sedentary lifestyle are a recipe for gastrointestinal problems.

Scientists collected and analyzed data from some 1,800 patients participating in a study of telephone- and mail-based weight loss intervention techniques. With an average body mass index (BMI) of 33, the average participant was classified as obese.

A high BMI was associated with increased symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal pain and diarrhea. Moreover, binge eating was associated with an increase in abdominal pain, constipation and bloating.

Patients who incorporated physical activity into their daily routine, however, generally suffered less gastrointestinal trouble than those who remained sedentary.

The most important thing you need to know about exercise, especially if you're overweight: It takes 90 minutes of exercise every day to make progress. Although I've received quite a bit of resistance from people claiming this recommendation was excessive, the truth is I haven't seen consistent, positive results with exercise levels below this commitment.

Another important issue for you to consider: How to get started. Fortunately, you are blessed with many options available on my Web site, thanks to the insightful work of contributing editors Ben Lerner and Paul Chek.

Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology September 23, 2005

Science Daily October 3, 2005

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