Five Constipation Frustrations - #5
"Are you doing everything you're supposed to for constipation, but nothing is working?!"
Well, first of all, take a deep breath, relax, and realize that you're not all alone here - and you're definitely not helpless, even if it sometimes feels that way. Constipation tends to be one of the more frustrating IBS symptoms, and it does take longer to resolve through lifestyle changes than diarrhea. But - there are many, many ways to help alleviate constipation successfully, it just takes a little patience and persistence.
What's the best way to take control of IBS constipation? Just make sure you avoid The Five Constipation Frustrations.
We'll tackle number five today:
5. I know exercise is important for constipation, so I get at least 20 minutes of walking in each day.
Exercise is more than important for constipation-prone IBS folks - it is absolutely critical. Exercise in general regulates bowel function and increase the efficiency of your entire digestive process, and it also reduces muscle tension. Exercise works your muscles (including internal muscles, like your colon), releasing the energy stored from involuntary contractions under stress, and allowing relaxation. With IBS, a relaxed colon is a happy colon.
The catch here is that moderate activity - which would help regulate constipation in a normal person - might not be nearly enough for constipation from IBS. You may well need a solid hour - or two - of exercise on a daily basis. You might also need a strenuous aerobic exercise, and not just walking or gentle workouts. This is particularly true if you are sedentary throughout the rest of the day (desk jobs are not good for the gut!).
Why would an intense workout be better for constipation than a series of shorter, lighter activities? The production of adrenaline that fast-paced, vigorous exercise produces actually results in something close to the "fight-or-flight" reaction of your body. Part of this reaction is an increase in peristaltic movement and a bowel movement. Light exercise won't necessarily produce the same results.
I know it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find this much time on a day-in, day-out basis for exercise. But if you can make the attempt, please try. Obviously, any exercise is better than none at all, so don't give up shorter, lighter workouts if that's all you can fit in.
However, if you are able to try at least a couple full-fledged, all-out, hard-core workouts each week, even if it's just for a trial run, you may see such benefits to your bowel that you become determined to find a way to make this a habit. Just make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards, and get extra sleep!
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