Daily habits to help you avoid occasional constipation
Your routine has a strong impact on your bodily functions — including your digestive system. When life gets busy, you might feel overwhelmed and make some quick changes. Diet and regular exercise are often the first adjustments, like grabbing fast food or skipping your daily walk.
Occasional constipation triggers
Your lifestyle choices can be a big trigger for constipation, especially the following:
Adults should get at least 20–30 grams of dietary fiber a day, along with drinking six to eight glasses of water. When you ingest the right amount of fiber and are properly hydrated, your stool become easier to pass.
Good sources of fiber are fruits (berries, apples, oranges, and prunes), vegetables (carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes), nuts (almonds, peanuts, and pecans), whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, and wheat bread), and legumes (lentils, black beans, and soybeans). Watch out for high-fat meats, dairy products, eggs, rich desserts, and sugary sweets — they may cause irregularity.
Inactivity is a major trigger for occasional constipation. When you’re not active, the amount of water your body absorbs is limited. Aerobic exercise like cardio speeds up your breathing and heart rate, and stimulates the natural contractions of muscles in your intestines.
Add at least three sessions of physical activity a week. Listen to your body and find what’s right for you — from walks to yoga to stretching. If you’re not sure about the right level of activity or don’t exercise regularly, consult your healthcare professional.
The digestive system is sensitive to situational and chronic stress — especially sudden changes in our lives. When stressed, you’re more likely to fall out of your normal rhythm. This might result in a lack of sleep or physical activity, and lead to constipation.
Set aside time for you. Try self-care and self-love routines so you — and your body — can relax.
More tips and tricks to get relief
Here are some extra tips for regularity:
When you’re hydrated, your stool becomes softer and easier to pass. Make it easy to stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle.
Limit caffeine and alcohol
Curb your intake of caffeine and cocktails. These can dehydrate the body, which makes it harder for stools to pass.
Set up your own bathroom routine
Set aside regular times to get into the bathroom, after breakfast or dinner. Don’t ignore the urge to poop because that can lead to occasional constipation too.
How to avoid constipation when traveling
When you’re heading out of town, constipation is probably one of the last things on your mind. You might not even know that changes from your normal routine, lack of hydration, inactivity, diet, and jet lag can bring your digestive system to a halt.
There’s no one thing you can do to avoid constipation while traveling, but the following suggestions can help you stay regular:
Maintain a consistent eating schedule
Traveling can throw a wrench in mealtime. If you can’t eat at the same time every day, try some healthy snacks to help keep things moving in your gut.
Get plenty of sleep
Easier said than done, right? Especially if you’re switching time zones during your travels, it can be difficult to get quality shut-eye. Squeeze in a catnap or two while flying or when you’re not driving. Limit caffeine and alcohol during the day as they can cause sleep disturbance.
Eat good foods for digestion and stay hydrated
Eating the right things can be more difficult when you’re away from home. Set yourself up for success by packing healthy, fiber-rich snacks and drinking lots of water.
Try to stay active
If you’re going on a road trip, schedule pit stops at rest areas and get in some good stretching and steps. Taking to the skies? Take advantage of long airport terminals and walk around if you have time to spare. If you can, take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator when you get to baggage.