Bloating & Gas When Exercising

Though exercise is often used to relieve gas pains, in some situations exercising can actually cause gas pain and bloating. This is especially common if you spend a significant amount of time exercising each day or are performing additional training in preparation for an upcoming race or competition. Understanding the reasons behind this gas and bloating helps you deal with the discomfort and prevent it in the future.

Fluid Intake

Proper hydration is important when exercising, but drinking too much water can lead to water retention and bloating. Attempting to maintain hydration with sugary drinks can also lead to bloating as well as gas pains since the body isn't able to get the hydration it needs from what it drinks. If you drink carbonated drinks while exercising this increases the likelihood of gas pains since the carbonation in the soft drink can release carbon dioxide within the gastrointestinal tract.

Low Sodium

Bloating & Gas When Exercising

Learn More

Though too much sodium can cause an increase in blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, if you don't have enough sodium in your diet then your body may have difficulty regulating its water usage. If you sweat heavily during exercise then you may be losing sodium in your sweat as well; some people excrete more sodium than others when sweating, and those who sweat large amounts of salt are prone to bloating and at an increased risk for dehydration.


Carbohydrates are used by the body as a source of energy. If the carbohydrates you eat aren't digested properly before you begin exercising, however, gas can build up in your digestive tract as a result. Similarly, protein is necessary to build muscles and other structures in the body but eating a high-protein meal just before exercising can result in excessive gas buildup while working out.

Improper Breathing

Why Your Stomach Hurts After Exercise

Learn More

Some gas pains are caused by improper breathing while exercising, especially when you feel out of breath and are gulping air. While attempting to take deep breaths you may accidentally swallow some of the air; this can lead to belching or introduction of air into the intestinal tract. Large amounts of air in the intestines can cause gas pains and flatulence.

Abdominal Exercises

Some abdominal exercises place a significant amount of stress on the stomach and lower torso as they work the muscles of the abdominals and obliques. This can result in flatulence as pressure placed on the intestinal tract forces gas out. In some cases pockets of gas may become trapped within the intestinal tract during these exercises, resulting in discomfort as the gas pockets exert pressure on the intestines.

Other Causes

Other factors may cause gas pains or bloating when you exercise as well. Existing gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or Chrohn's disease can cause gas pain and other gastrointestinal irritation when exercising, especially if you ate a meal or had a snack not long before your exercise routine. Women who are experiencing premenstrual syndrome may also experience bloating or gas pain which may seem more severe while exercising. Some illnesses may cause bloating or gas pain as well, especially if they affect the stomach or gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment and Prevention

Gas pains and bloating that occur during or after exercise can generally be treated using natural or over-the-counter treatment options; gentle exercise such as walking and yoga may help as well. Proper hydration, balanced sodium intake and the spacing of meals to ensure proper digestion before exercise can help to prevent these problems. If you experience severe gas pain, bloating or other discomfort and are unable to find a cause for it, consult your doctor to make sure that the discomfort isn't caused by some other underlying condition.