Regular bowel movements are essential, not just to keep you feeling good, but for your health in general. Occasional constipation is uncomfortable, painful, and unhealthy. If you’re like millions of others and struggle with occasional constipation, you’ve come to the right place. This article will discuss how and why exercise is beneficial for occasional irregularity. We’ll also look at a few of the best exercises and workouts you can use to stay regular.
Why is exercise good for occasional constipation?
While the overall process of how exercise affects your bowel movements is somewhat complicated, here’s how it works.
- Exercise speeds up your digestive system and helps food flow quickly through your large intestine.
- This makes it so less water is removed from your stool, which keeps it moist instead of hard and dry, making it easier to pass stool.
- Exercise also increases your heart rate, blood flow, and respiration, which makes it easier for your intestines to contract. This is crucial when you’re passing stool.
In general, exercise keeps your digestive system flowing and operating smoothly. It affects your brain, large and small intestines, heart, and stomach and encourages them to promote bowel movements.
Four exercises to help with occasional constipation
Now that you know why exercise is beneficial for occasional constipation, let’s look at some specific activities to try.
Cardio is one of the best ways to get your digestive system moving and grooving. Cardio doesn’t mean running a marathon every time you struggle with occasional constipation. Instead, 25 to 30 minutes of walking, running, swimming, or other forms of cardio is usually enough to keep you regular. In general, however, getting the heart rate higher and the blood flowing faster will increase your ability to stay regular. As such, walking may only sometimes do the trick.
Yoga and stretching are probably the last things you’ll feel like doing if you’re constipated, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do. Yoga relaxes the mind, stretches the body, increases blood flow and heart rate, and gets the bowels moving. Certain yoga exercises will even massage your digestive tract and increase the likelihood of passing stool. Here are some of the best yoga exercises for occasional constipation.
- Wind-Relieving Pose
- Supine Twist
- Bow Pose
- Cat to Cow
Deep breathing is also a big part of yoga and another great way to relieve occasional constipation.
In addition to cardio, resistance training is also a great way to get the bowels moving. Resistance training includes lifting weights, deep squats, pushups, reverse lunges, and more. Each exercise will elevate the heart rate, increase blood flow, and help food get through your system faster.
Pelvic Floor Exercise
Pelvic floor exercises are the last, and perhaps best, type of exercise you can do for occasional constipation. The group of muscles near the bottom of the pelvis, including your bowels and bladder, are collectively known as the pelvic floor. By performing exercises that specifically work these muscles, your bowels and bladder will be stronger and healthier. This will help with both bowel movements and urinary incontinence if they’re a struggle for you.
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