Physical exercises or physical activity is one of the most effective ways of preventing many diseases. Constipation is one of them.
Since you get into more serious health problems because of constipation, you need to take your exercise more seriously. Being free of constipation assures you freedom from many of its negative effects.
Physical activity stimulates intestinal muscles too. Contraction of muscles of small intestine helps in the movement of food and contraction of colon muscles helps in the movement of fecal matter and its expulsion.
Improper or insufficient colon muscle movement keeps the stool longer inside the colon. The longer it stays inside, more water gets absorbed from it and stool becomes dry and hard. Hard stool is difficult to move and expel.
Regular physical exercise program is one of the basic requirements for treatment and prevention of constipation. Accelerated breathing and increased heart rate that happen during exercise stimulate intestinal muscles because of increased blood flow.
Best time for Physical exercises
Early morning after you pass stool is the right time for exercise. You can do it after a meal too but give a gap of at least one hour. Immediately after a meal, your body gets busy digesting food by increasing blood flow to digestive organs. In an hour or so, depending on what your meal consists of, the activity of digestive organs become slower and you can start your physical
Best exercises for constipation
There are no strict rules on this. It depends on your age and physical fitness. Specific to constipation, walking is a good exercise. 40 minutes to one hour at a stretch or 15 to 20 minutes at a time, doing three to four times a day is good.
Yoga is an ancient scientific system of practice involving the body, mind and spirit. 'Yoga-asanas' is one of the 8 limbs or stages of Yoga. Where as gymnastics are limited to the physical body, yoga-asanas involve both body and mind.
In addition to physical exercises, yoga asanas give additional stimulation to intestinal organs.
Practice them and get-
- Stimulation of every muscle, nerve and gland
- Fit, strong and agile body
- Quietened nerves
- Disciplined mind
However, if you are looking for constipation relief only, I suggest three asanas that you can do at home. The main aim of these postures is to strengthen and stimulate the complete digestive system – digestion, absorption and bowel movement.
Good for digestive disorders and constipation. Tones muscles of thighs, abdomen and arms. It releases intestinal gas.
- Lie on your back.
- Breathe out and bend both knees.
- Hold both knees with locked hands.
- Press thighs gently towards lower abdomen.
- Raise head up until your forehead touches knees.
- Maintain the position and breathe normally.
- Breath in and return to original position.
Try to maintain the posture for 10 sec initially and increase up to 1 minute. Repeat the posture 3 to 4 times.
More detailed instructions and benefits of Pavanamuktasana are available here.
This posture stretches the entire back side from head to heels and massages digestive organs.
- Sit straight on the floor or mat. Keep you legs together, stretched in front of you with toes pointing upwards.
- Breath in and stretch your hands upwards above your head, simultaneously stretching the spine.
- Breathe out and bend forward to reach your feet with hands. Keep your spine as elongated as possible with minimum curvature.
- Try to hold your feet with your hands and gently pull your arms so that your head bends towards the knees as much as possible.
- Relax and breathe normally. Hold on to this position for 10 seconds initially and through practice, you can keep it up to 5 minutes.
- To come out of this posture, follow exactly reverse process.
This posture strengthens abdominal and intestinal muscles.
- Lie down on your back. Keep your legs straight and feet together with toes pointing upwards.
- Keep your hands straight, touching the sides of your body with palm facing the floor.
- While breathing in, raise your legs slowly, with out bending your knees, until your legs are perpendicular to your body.
- Try to bend your feet such that your toes point upwards.
- Keep in this position for 10 seconds initially. You can increase up to 5 min.
- Come back to normal lying potion while breathing out.
- During this asana, don’t bend your knees.
- Repeat it 3 to 4 times.
Apart from physical exercises and yoga asanas, I suggest some breathing exercises as well.
Proper breathing helps in relieving constipation indirectly. The idea is to make the body relax. Remember, if your mind and body are full of tension, none of the organs work properly.
If you can make the body relax, intestinal muscular contractions are proper and stool moves easily in the colon. Relaxed (relaxed doesn’t mean inactive) colon is very important for healthy bowel movement.
Some very important breathing exercises are given else where in this blog..
Causes of Constipation
- Drinking less water. Read about the importance of drinking water.
- Insufficient fiber in your diet. Low fiber diet is an easy way to illness.
- Bed rest Constipation, Banana Constipation, Beer Constipation, Calcium Constipation, Chocolate Constipation
- Iron Supplements Constipation, Milk Constipation, Celiac Disease Constipation
Physical exercises are as important as drinking sufficient water, high fiber diet, avoiding junk food, healthy eating and lifestyle to avoid constipation.