Health

How does workout affect bowel movements

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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If you often feel constipated, but have a sudden bowel movement after a workout session, don’t fret. We have got an expert to answer why this happens.

Have you ever felt an immediate urge to poop during or immediately after a workout session? Isn’t this so relatable? When it happens, you may think something may have gone wrong and start imagining the worst possible scenarios. But there’s one truth – exercising or working out impacts your poop habits. 

So why does that happen?

This is a common issue. The urge to go to the washroom immediately might come mid-workout and for others, it could happen post-workout because the body is still feeling the effect of the exercise. So what’s the reason? Well, the more you move, the more your intestines move. 

exercise induced poop
It is normal to feel bloated after exercise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

And movements will affect digestion because it will help move food contents, gas, and stool along the digestive tract. As a result, you may feel the need to go to use the restroom. In addition, a diet rich in sugary foods or drinks before a workout can also increase bowel movements. 

Is increased bowel movements a problem?

According to the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, the normal frequency for bowel movements is between three times per day and three times per week. So if you’re in between this ratio, you’re absolutely fine. 

There’s no need to stop exercising because of that. In fact, lack of physical activity and being sedentary can slow down the digestive system, leading to digestive issues. If you’re battling constipation, your doctor might recommend lots of regular exercises to help get things going.

Also, read: Oops! Don’t hold your poop or face these side effects

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.

So how does a workout session change your digestive system?

“Working out is the best way to keep all your systems going optimally,” says Dr Abhinav Sharma, Senior Occupational Therapist, AquaCentric Therapy, Pvt Ltd. And we agree that exercise helps your body to look better, feel better and function better. In fact, regular exercise may keep you healthy. 

exercise induced poop
Workout can make your digestive system smooth. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Let’s see how workouts and other forms of exercise bring changes to our poop routine:

Exercise is essential for regular bowel movements. “Our digestive system, medically called the gastrointestinal system, benefits from exercise. Mild to moderate levels of exercise are well tolerated and can benefit patients with a very common problem known as inflammatory bowel disease,” says Dr Sharma. 

It has been found that physical activity/workouts on a regular basis can improve the emptying of the stomach and intestines and prevent the risk of colon cancer. On the other hand, severe exhaustive exercises have exactly the opposite effect, adds Dr Sharma. 

But over time, regular exercises strengthen the digestive system. We can conclude that exercises done regularly are beneficial not only for your physical health but have a holistic effect on the whole body.

It’s never too late to start. So, start exercising regularly. 

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