Exercise helps your body look better, feel better and function better. While that might not be surprising news, you might be surprised to find out that regular exercise even impacts your bowel function. Exercise keeps you fit, maintains your weight and wards off several diseases, but regular exercise is an important way to help ward off and treat constipation as it can promote activity in the digestive tract.
Activity and Bowel Movements
Lack of physical activity can contribute to constipation because being sedentary can slow the digestive system, which means that stools are hard, difficult to pass or don't pass often. If you're battling constipation, your doctor might recommend lots of regular exercise to help get things going. If you're already regular, you might find that you have more bowel movements as you kick up your exercise routine and your digestive system responds. The bowels respond even more when you're in a consistent exercise routine and exercising at the same time each day, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
Food and Bowel Movements
Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. So if you're starting to increase your exercise, you might have made other healthy lifestyle changes as well, including changes to your diet. If you're increasing your fiber intake and choosing more filling, lower-calorie foods to curb hunger and still lose pounds, the increase in fiber can lead to more frequent bowel movements. Foods that are high in fiber promote healthier bowel function, manage constipation and stimulate the bowels for more regular movements.
Fluids and Bowel Movements
More exercise means more sweating, and that means you're probably drinking more fluids than normal. When you increase your fluid intake, you might experience more frequent bowel movements. Dehydration is a common contributor to constipation and increasing fluid intake is an effective constipation remedy. Exercising and increased fluid intake can cause an increase in bowel movements in someone who is already regular.
Healthy Bowel Function
There are many factors that influence bowel function. Being under emotional stress can trigger constipation. Since exercise is an effective way to alleviate stress, that can also cause an increase in bowel movements. Other factors that affect bowel movements include trying to have a bowel movement when you feel the urge, consistency in diet and exercise, and avoiding supplements and medications that might cause constipation.