Constipation makes menopause even more annoying. While usually not life-threatening, constipation is uncomfortable and puts a lot of strain on the body. There are many simple ways to treat constipation and one of the most helpful is exercise. Just one more reason to pry ourselves off the couch and to get active!
Resolve constipation with exercise
Exercise helps the body in so many ways by helping to keep everything flowing properly. Just as movement keeps the blood circulating, movement also aids in digesting food. After we eat, food must pass through the large and small intestines; a process that takes several hours.
To do the job properly, the intestines use a series of contractions that move material through the body to get it ready for elimination. There are many factors affecting these contractions such as a diet low in fiber and not enough water intake.
While we sit around all day or flop on the couch at night, our bodies are not burning calories efficiently. At the same time, all the internal organs slow down to a crawl and are not at top performance. Exercise helps to stimulate the muscles, nerves, and organs; oxygen is forced into the bodies millions of cells and this helps the cells work more efficiently. This is true for the intestines as well.
Getting up and moving about helps the intestines push food and waste at just the right speed so that the body can eliminate waste on a regular basis. When the body cannot eliminate normally (and normal can vary among individuals) the resulting waste backup can leave us feeling bloated, uncomfortable and miserable.
What types of exercise help resolve constipation?
The good news is that exercise does not have to be strenuous; you do not need to join a gym or take up running unless you want to. When it comes to exercise keep these tips in mind:
*Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine especially if you have been inactive for some time
*Do something you enjoy or else you will not stick with it and give up
*Plan your exercise time it can be in the morning, at lunch, after work or in the evening as long as the time is right for you
*Ideally, the experts tell us to set aside 30 to 60 minutes a day but that does not always realistically work for everyone even just three 30 minute sessions a week are helpful
*Make exercise time a priority other distractions tend to get in the way unless we are serious about out exercise time
*Working out can be done alone, with friends, or with the family whichever option works best for you and often exercising with others is great motivation
*Aerobic exercises are the types that give you a cardio workout and burn calories-these are the exercises that involve lots of movement and not a lot of strength or equipment
So I can avoid the gym?
Aerobic exercise comes in many forms so there is likely something you will enjoy. Try walking, dancing, swimming, aquafit or water aerobics, aerobic exercise classes, running, golfing (but skip the golf cart), tossing a football with the kids, hiking, playing with the dog (they never seem to wear out!), volleyball, tennis, badminton, squash, racquetball, spinning, cycling, or just about anything else that gets you moving. The choices are many and they do not have to be done all out; a gentle paced walk can do wonders for getting you and your intestines.
It is easy to make a few minor changes in your diet, increase your water intake and include exercise in your plan to resolve and prevent constipation. Regular exercise feels great and will keep you regular as well!
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You