4 Exercises That May Ease Constipation

4 Exercises That May Ease Constipation

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you have to move if you want to get things moving. A recent research review found that exercise can improve symptoms of constipation. Separate research linked regular exercise to significant relief from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including constipation. If you are struggling to get things moving, movement may be one of the best and easiest solutions.

As a quick note, a single exercise session isn’t the answer to your digestive problems. It may also not trigger an immediate run to the restroom. Researchers note that the digestive benefits of exercise are the greatest in the long term. How does that work, exactly? Well, regular exercise reduces the amount of time it takes for food to move through the digestive tract. The reduction in time means that the body has less opportunity to absorb water content from stool as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. Simply put, hydrated stool passes much more easily than hard, dry stool. 

At this time, researchers do not fully understand how exercise activates gut motility. The belief is that there are mechanical and chemical routes at play. Mechanical mechanisms include physical pressure on and twisting of the intestines. Changes in blood flow are also mechanical mechanisms. Chemical ones include the increase in digestive enzymes or hormone release. Read on to learn which exercises are the best to ease constipation

Core Exercises

Think of your core like a housing unit for the body’s organs, including the gastrointestinal system. The Harvard Medical School suggests that the strength and function of core muscles play an integral role in motility. Their contractions increase the pressure throughout the abdominal cavity, which helps to push things through. The strong the muscles are, the more contractions there are to promote digestion. Bending and twisting the torso also puts more pressure on the intestines. Additionally, planks and plank variations can increase intra abdominal pressure from the muscle contractions, which can stimulate the intestines. 

Running

Are “runner’s poops” a real thing? Gastroenterologists suggest that running can stimulate bowel movements during or immediately after hard runs. The mechanism at play, as per study findings, is a lack of blood supply to the large intestine, or ischemia. Exercise can improve blood flow to the intestines in the long term, but running can route blood away from the digestive system and to working muscles. while engaged in the workout. Running is also a high-impact exercise, which jostles the intestines, potentially stimulating contractions. Finally, the secretion of specialized hormones and digestive enzymes in the digestive tract may further enhance the movement of stool through the intestines

Yoga

Yoga is a form of exercise that affects blood flow to the intestines because it involves a lot of bracing, bending, folding, and twisting. All of that core mobility taps into the parasympathetic nervous system and encourages the “rest and digest” state. By lowering your stress levels, or your fight-or-flight response, you calm the body and focus on relaxation, which helps to better prime the body for digestion. According to several studies, certain yoga postures may help relieve constipation in people with irritable bowel syndrome. 

Light Cardio

You shouldn’t have to push to eliminate, or push the body too much to promote bowel movements. Light cardio, such as walking, biking, or aqua aerobics, can help promote regularity. The main goal is to elevate the heart rate enough to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract without causing a dramatic shift in blood flow away from the digestive system. Health experts recommend 150 minutes of light aerobic activity per week, but those minutes don’t have to be structured exercise. Gardening, active commuting, household chores, and more are all beneficial for your digestive health.

2024-04-29T16:33:52-07:00
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