The process of traveling – especially during the holidays – can be extremely stressful due to traffic, flight delays, and trip cancellations. Besides testing your patience, travel can also disrupt how your body functions. Nope, we aren’t talking about tight hamstrings because airlines have reduced how much leg room you have to accommodate more seats; we’re talking about your digestive system.
Not exactly the icebreaker conversation you’ll want to have with your seatmates, but it’s important to know how travel impacts your digestion. To understand how that cross-country flight is messing with your stomach, making you bloated, gassy, and constipated, POPSUGAR spoke to Samantha Nazareth, a double board-certified gastroenterologist in New York City.
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“Most people are traveling for hours on end, and not really moving a whole lot. As soon as we sit and don’t move, that slows down the movements inside of us called peristalsis,” Dr. Nazareth said. Peristalsis is wave-like muscle contractions that are responsible for moving the food you eat from your esophagus to your stomach and your intestines, and eventually, you’ve got to go number two.
Getting up throughout your flight or stopping at a rest stop to shake out your legs may help slightly, but if you really want to avoid constipation and other stomach discomfort, Dr. Nazareth recommends the following three pieces of advice – and they’re easy to do.
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