EXERCISES TO STIMULATE BOWEL MOVEMENT | 7 TYPES FOR EVERYONE
- Medically reviewed by: Horia Marculescu, MD
- Photo credits: Licenses / Author
- Last updated: 13.07.2021
If you are looking for simple exercises to stimulate bowel movement, then consider the following ones:
- Jump Rope
- Deep Breathing
- Deep Squatting
- Wind-Relieving Pose
These exercises stimulate intestinal motility by contracting the muscles and expanding the lungs.
They keep the Gastro-Intestinal tract healthy, and they shorten the time the stool passes from the small intestine to the large intestine.
Also, they are excellent for workout and relieving stress by creating adrenaline. Follow the guide and get the most out of the benefits in the long-term.
Walking is one of the most effective exercises to stimulate bowel movement because it makes the entire body move and the abdomen contract and expands.
Contracting the abdominal muscles will improve motility by stimulating and creating more intestinal waves so the stool will move towards the rectum.
Walking can unglue portions of the stool inside the large intestine that acts as a sticky glue if you suffer from dehydration.
Walking is the kind of exercise that everyone can practice, especially people who recover after surgery or trauma. Or they are not a good physical shape.
How to walk to stimulate the bowel?
- Put on a pair of elastic pants.
- Put on some comfortable shoes.
- Get a clean cotton shirt for sweat.
- Tie your shoe knots and fix the feet inside.
- Get outside and start walking.
First, warm-up with some stretches for constipation relief to prepare your body and muscles for physical effort. For the first ten minutes, walk with slow steps.
After ten minutes of slow walking, try to accelerate the steps as if you were going somewhere in a rush. Now keep walking in this alert mode for 30 minutes without a break.
After 30 minutes of walking, take a 5 minutes break and relax. Try to inhale and exhale deep and slow to get as much oxygen as you can in your lungs.
A simple example of walking for beginners:
- Walk 15 minutes at a slow pace.
- Accelerate the pace.
- Walk 30 minutes in alert mode.
- Take a break for 10 minutes.
- Breathe deeply and slowly.
Repeat the 30 minutes intervals 2-3 times with breaks (60-90 minutes). If you live a sedentary life, it is essential to start slow. This thing also applies if you are beginning with physical activity to stimulate bowel movement.
Increase the intervals to 40 minutes (80-120 minutes) if you are in good physical shape.
What do the experts say?
As reported by a study about therapeutic yoga and walking (for patients with IBS), published by The U.S. National Library: The results indicate that walking is beneficial for IBS patients. Walking is even more effective in the long-term if used as a self-regulated walking program.
According to a guide called Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd ed), published by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 150 minutes (once a week) of brisk walking will reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and other health issues.
According to a guide on Measuring Physical Activity Intensity, published by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Brisk walking should not be race-walking, but rather at a speed of at least three miles per hour or more. [back to top]
Jogging is similar to walking, and it is one of the most effective exercises to stimulate bowel movement because it puts the entire body to work.
Moving all the body parts and especially the abdomen will improve bowel movement using muscle contraction and intestinal pressure.
Also, because of the constant and intense movement of the body parts, the intestines will expand, thus creating more waves to move the stool faster for evacuation.
Jogging is the kind of exercise that anyone can practice. All you need is a long flat surface and some good running shoes.
How to use jogging to stimulate movement inside?
- Put on your running equipment.
- Tie your shoes carefully.
- Get outside to a park or someplace similar.
- Walk for 10 minutes.
- Now start jogging for 30 minutes.
The best thing to do before is to: walk for ten minutes. In this way, you will prepare your body for physical effort.
After you have warmed up your body, increase the speed of walking, and make sure you are moving the body as if you were running very slow.
After 30 minutes of jogging, take a 5 minutes break and repeat this step one more time.
Breathe deeply and slowly to get as much oxygen you can inside the lungs. You will start to breathe faster as time passes, and the effort becomes more intense.
Training examples with jogging intervals
If you want to have faster constipation relief, then increase the total amount of time to 90 minutes of jogging. Repeat 30 minutes three times very slowly.
Try to maintain a constant rhythm and breathe more quickly. If you are in good physical shape, you can extend this interval for 120 minutes for great results.
It is essential to hydrate before and after this exercise. The muscles require water and vitamins for hydration. The stool inside the small and the large intestines also needs water.
What do the experts say?
According to recommendations about physical activity in adults, published by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The CDC recommends weekly vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise like jogging, running, or similar (for at least 75 minutes).
According to a guide called Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd ed), published by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Moderate-intensity exercise includes warm-up and cool-down to meeting the ideal aerobic guidelines (example: brisk walking as a warm-up before jogging). [back to top]
3. JUMP ROPE
The Jump Rope exercise is one of the most fun and effective exercise to stimulate bowel movement because it puts every muscle to intense training.
Doing jump rope exercises will make the intestines move vertically up and down. In this way, vertical pressure will also push the stool towards evacuation. This thing is excellent for having fast relief in the short-term.
This exercise requires a little bit of effort, equipment, and obviously, a long sports rope. If you find this exercise a bit challenging at first, you should master jogging.
How to do jump rope exercise to stimulate the bowel?
- Take the handles in your palms.
- Place the rope behind your back.
- Now, rotate your hands from back to front.
- Rotate the rope from behind and push forward.
- Jump when the rope reaches your feet.
Start this exercise slowly until the hands synchronize with the jump. Do not worry if you fail for the first 20-30 times. It is normal.
The purpose of this exercise is to get the internals moving and to prepare for stool evacuation.
A simple example of jump rope exercise:
- Jump slowly 10 times for warmup without a rope.
- Jump 10 times slowly with the rope.
- Take a break.
- Jump 15 times quickly.
- Take a break.
Repeat this exercise 3-4 times and try to jump as vertical as you can. After two series, you will start to feel the abdominal muscles working.
Also, you will feel the stool and the gas inside the intestine moving. The presence of gas inside is natural, but be aware of too much gas. This exercise helps you relieve gas and constipation, amongst others.
Try to keep balance as much as you can when rotating the hands. Try not to move too much in front or back and try to stay in the same place where you started.
What do the experts say?
According to a study about jump-rope-based physical activity and fitness promotion in adolescents, published by The U.S. National Library of Medicine: After a 12-week study, jump-rope exercises showed significant enhancements in muscular strength and flexibility. The jump-rope movement is a whole-body movement (upper/lower body).
4. DEEP BREATHING
Deep breathing is a great exercise to stimulate bowel movement because it focuses on the lower part of the abdomen and contracts the pelvic floor muscles.
Other exercises that help digestion and constipation, like sit-ups or crunches, do the same thing.
Ideally, you want to inhale air deep into the pelvic area. This thing makes the lungs expand, and the rib cage opens.
Next, it is essential to exhale the air out of your lungs slowly and gently. Filling the lungs with air will increase their volume, thus, moving the intestines. As a result, the stool inside the intestines will move towards the rectum.
How to breathe to stimulate internal movement?
- Place yourself on your feet straight.
- Take a deep breath gently and fill the lungs.
- Try to inhale the air into the pelvic area.
- Keep the air inside for 5 seconds.
- Exhale the air slowly.
Repeat the exercise slowly 20-30 times, and do not force the rectum. Do not rush the process.
Try to keep the air as low as possible. Ideally, you want to move the air as close to the pelvic area so the lungs will expand to the maximum.
It is essential to inhale and exhale slowly and gently. When you feel the air in the lower abdomen, near the thighs and the pelvic floor, then you are doing it right.
What do the experts say?
According to an article about gut responses and IBS, published by The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Gut response reduction is possible with relaxation, breathing exercises, or any form of meditation.
According to a study called Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy, published by The U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Breathing exercises (to expand the lung capacity) and loosening practices are helpful techniques to better manager symptoms of constipation-IBS. [back to top]
5. DEEP SQUATTING
Squatting is in the pelvic floor muscle exercise category, and it is one of the best exercises for bowel stimulation.
The reason is that: it increases the anorectal angle to create a clear path for the stool inside the large intestine and rectum.
Also, it puts pressure on the upper abdomen so the stool will move with ease. Deep squatting prepares for stool evacuation because it is the natural way to defecate.
How to use deep squatting to help the bowel?
- Position yourself on your feet straight.
- Lower your body slowly.
- Keep the abdomen straight.
- Put your elbows on your knees.
- Keep the arms between the knees.
- Stay in this position for 5 breaths.
- Come back to the initial position.
Repeat this exercise 10-15 times slowly. Try to keep a foot distance between the knees. Also, keep the knees higher than the hips.
Always keep the abdomen straight and do not curve your body. The purpose is to work-out the pelvic floor muscles and to increase the anorectal angle.
You can use any support to hold on to if you want to make this exercise easier. But remember to focus on the pelvic floor area like the sphincter and the rectum.
Example of squat training and posture
For better results, try to squat for more than ten breaths. Also, you can place the elbows on your knees. Now, extend with the arms the space between the knees.
In this way, you will stretch the hips and thighs, and the anorectal angle will increase even more. This thing will prepare you to do other stretches to relieve constipation in the future.
According to exercise guidelines, warm-up, and strength training, published by The American Academy of Family Physicians: Exercise like squats have so many health benefits. You can try bodyweight squats while watching TV or when walking outside. [back to top]
6. WIND-RELIEVING POSE
The Wind-Relieving pose is a beginner yoga pose that anyone can practice without too much effort.
This yoga pose is extremely efficient because it is similar to deep squatting and can stimulate bowel movement with slow exercises.
The movement of the knees going to the chest increases the anorectal angle and puts the pelvic floor muscles to work.
How to practice the wind-relieving pose for abdominal stimulation?
- Place your back on the floor mat.
- Keep your body straight on the mat.
- Pull your knees to your chest.
- Bend your back slowly.
- Place your arms over the legs.
- Hold the knees with your arms.
- Count to ten.
- Release the legs slowly and repeat.
Repeat this exercise slowly ten times if you are a beginner. If you are in good physical shape, you can practice this exercise 15-20 times.
But repeat it slowly and gently at first because you do not want to put too much pressure on your abdomen and intestines.
Also, you should feel the gas and the stool inside the intestines move towards the rectum to evacuate. When this thing happens, it is a clear sign that it will improve bowel movement.
Wind-relieving pose warm-up example:
- Pull your knees together slowly.
- Keep the knees with the arms for five seconds.
- Release the legs slowly.
- Keep your body straight on the mat.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times.
As with any other warm-up exercise, it is essential to start slow and to prepare your body first.
The better you prepare the body, the better it will react whenever you create pressure and tension over the intestines.
If you suffer from a slow bowel movement, then you will need a little bit of stimulation and a pelvic floor workout.
According to a study about muscles and yoga postures published by The U.S. National Institutes of Health: Various yoga postures activate specific muscles. Some of them comprise simple body movements like sitting, forward and backbend, twist, inversion, and laying down in a supine posture. [back to top]
Crunches are one of the best exercises for bowel stimulation because they focus on the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles.
These exercises have many variations, but all of them create pressure inside the intestines, and they force the stool to evacuate.
The role of crunches is to move the stool inside the intestine as much as possible using only body movement.
Because crunches are similar to the movement of the Wind-Relieving Pose, the anorectal angle will start to increase. Thus, making defecation easier after a workout.
How to use crunches as stimulation exercise?
- Lie on the fitness mat with your back.
- Keep your body straight on the mat.
- Move your thighs perpendicular to the floor.
- Keep your calf parallel with the floor.
- Move your head towards the knees.
- Bend your back doing so.
- Come back to the initial posture.
Repeat this movement slowly ten times. And repeat it gently at first. Consider exercising for five series of ten movements. If you are used to the abdominal workout, you can do 10-15 movements.
Crunches are almost identical to sit-ups. And sit-ups can sometimes cause constipation if you are tired, dehydrated, or you are stressed often.
According to a guideline called Exercising on a budget, published by The U.S. National Library of Medicine: Exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, leg or arm raises use your body weight. These exercises help you tone muscles. [back to top]
KEEP IN MIND
The exercises presented above help stimulate the bowel and keep the digestive tract healthy.
Aerobic or cardio exercises make the heart rate increase the blood flow. Also, they will expand the lungs and open the rib cage.
If you get very dehydrated after a workout, then this thing means you have to find out what causes this symptom. If you often feel bloating, gas, and severe constipation after a meal, you should visit a doctor.
Some exercises like sit-ups may cause constipation under certain circumstances. If you feel discomfort, then you should visit a doctor.
According to an article about abdominal pain, symptoms, and causes, published by The American College of Gastroenterology: The brain or gut can send nerve signals or can secrete some chemicals that may cause gut sensitivity and abdominal discomfort (similar to stretching and gas bloat). [back to top]
All of these exercises to stimulate bowel movement are suitable for everyone.
The following types are easy to practice, and they require little effort like walking, jogging, deep breathing, and deep squatting.
If you want to have better results and you are in excellent physical shape, then the following ones are perfect for you: jump rope exercises, wind-relieving pose, and crunches. [back to top]
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Sebastian D., and I am the senior editor of constipationguide.com. With the help of my mentor, Dr. Horia Marculescu, I decided to create a practical guide to constipation relief.. read more