Effects of physical activity on intestinal gas transit and evacuation in healthy subjects

Am J Med. 2004 Apr 15;116(8):536-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2003.12.018.


Purpose: To determine the effects of mild physical activity on intestinal gas transit and clearance.

Methods: In 8 healthy adults, a gas mixture was infused continuously into the jejunum (12 mL/min) for 120 minutes with simultaneous duodenal lipid perfusion (1 kcal/min). Gas evacuation, perception of abdominal sensations (on a scale of 0 [none] to 6 [pain]), and abdominal girth were measured at 15-minute intervals during rest and intermittent pedalling, with subjects in a supine position.

Results: Mean (+/- SD) intestinal gas retention was lower during exercise than at rest (-84 +/- 303 mL vs. 143 +/- 219 mL, P <0.05). Gas retention during rest was associated with significant abdominal distension (8 +/- 6 mm, P <0.01 vs. basal), which was decreased with exercise (3 +/- 7 mm, P <0.05 vs. rest). The gas challenge test was well tolerated both during exercise and rest (perception score: 0.6 +/- 0.5 vs. 0.9 +/- 0.4, P = 0.25).

Conclusion: In healthy subjects, gut transit of intraluminal gas is enhanced by mild physical activity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Gases*
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Jejunum / physiology
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Gases