Constipation affects over 42 million Americans, making it one of the most common gastrointestinal problems according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. If you’ve changed your diet to include more high-fiber foods and seen your doctor to rule out any serious medical causes, here are some exercises you can try to stimulate digestion.

Four Ways to Stimulate Digestion Naturally

1. Relax your pelvic floor muscles:

Your pelvic floor muscles are responsible for healthy elimination. The pelvic floor muscles line your pelvis and wrap around the bottom of your rectum and sphincters. When you have a bowel movement these muscles need to relax in order for stool to exit from the body.  If these muscles are gripping and preventing the stool from exiting, this can create a chain affect where everything slows down and results in constipation over time.

2. Breathing:

Your diaphragm is a key muscle which works with the pelvic floor muscles to coordinate contraction and relaxation of your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor should relax when you inhale and contract when you exhale. This sandwiches your organs between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor, which creates a “sump pump” mechanism and essentially massages the organs. When this relationship is not in synergy, this can cause digestive issues.

3. Abdominal massage:

This stimulates the organs and muscles that aid in digestions and it breaks up fascia (connective tissue) restriction t that might be restricting digestion.

4. Sitting with your knees above your hips:

Squatting actually increases the anorectal angle from 100 to 126 degrees allowing stool to pass easier out of the body.  When going to the bathroom, use a stool under your feet and allow the knees to move above the level of your hips.

Still experiencing constipation?

Pelvic floor physical therapy might be able to help. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation here.

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