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Exercises For Constipation, IBS Bloating, And Abdominal Pain

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in April of 2023. For the original video go to

Mike: Get ready to improve your digestive health and alleviate symptoms of constipation, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), bloating, and abdominal pain with these simple exercises.

Brad: So if you want to be able to void better, you can try some of these exercises. They’re simple to do and they can work very well. I think this video is more for 50 years old and older, but maybe not. Bob and I are both 60 and older, and we feel these are a little more applicable to our age. But anyways, good luck with them. They’re good activities.

Mike: We want to emphasize that this is not for someone who is suffering from diarrhea. Obviously, that is the complete opposite problem where you can’t stop going.

Brad: Right, so to start any of these exercises, you’ll want to get a 16-ounce glass of warm water, drink it all down, so we get some ability for those things to start moving.

Mike: So the second tip is if you’re mobile or functional, and you can get out and about, just in general that typically gets bowel movements to occur. This can include walking or jogging or anything of that sort.

Brad: Right, I think both Mike and I concurred that for us, going out for a jog works well. However, most people do not jog. Walking a block or two can certainly be enough. The exercise we’re going to show you is if you are unable to get out and do that kind of activity or it’s just not what you’d like to do. Okay, here we go. This first activity is simply lying on your back. You can do this in bed. You’ve already had your warm water. You’re going to take your arms over the top of your head, assuming you have enough shoulder range of motion that it’s not painful. Then you’re going to do some diaphragmatic breathing. This is where you breathe and you’re going to feel your stomach go up, up, up, take a deep breath, and then exhale. This is something a lot of people do not do, and it’s actually a good way to breathe, to relax. And when you do that, it helps push on the visceral content, which gets the voiding moving.

Brad: So five times of that, and then the next option is simply bringing the knees up. This is oftentimes more comfortable for people in this position. Again, arms up overhead if possible. In regards to your shoulder range of motion, take your knees and go to the left as far as comfortable and then do the same type of breathing. Let that belly come up as you breathe, relax the stomach muscles, and exhale. Five repetitions to the left and then go to the right. Now you may find one direction gets things moving and the other one may not. Do whichever direction works best for you, and it may be both.

Mike: Okay, if you’re not having success with the first couple of exercises, this is another option. For this, you have to have a little bit more ability and be able to get on your hands and knees for this. So we’re going to do a child’s pose type stretch, and you’re going to reach forward, bend down with your arms stretched out, and you can hold this for a duration of time. You can also try going in each direction. Maybe going to the right helps a little more or to the left. This will just kind of help get the bowels moving a bit and get some movement in there. Plus you get a nice little back stretch.

Brad: You could hold it for 15 seconds or so, depending on how it feels. Then come back up and do a few repetitions like oscillating.

Mike: Another option you can do are called press ups, which is also a back exercise. It gets things moving. Keep your hands flat on the mat like this. You can do mini press-ups if this is tolerable. If you can go the full range of motion, you could certainly do that. Try to do 10 repetitions, just move through the motion and see if this helps. This may work, but this may not. It’s going to be very individualistic.

Brad: And I do want to make clear particularly if you’re a little older, you probably will not have near this range of motion. If you can only get up a few inches, that’s fine as well. As long as we’re getting some motion and you’re not creating any other pain like in your back. The next technique may seem a little unusual, but it’s field tested. Bob has used this and he says it works well. You’ll need a broomstick or a mop or something about five feet tall. You’re going to use this on the floor when you’re actually on the toilet or the stool. You’re going to put this on the floor. If you’re using a stick that’s slippery on the floor, you may need to put a shoe down and put it in there so it does not slip on the floor. That’s critical. We’re going to use a Booyah Stik, it already has a rubber end and it will not slip. Go ahead Mike, show them the technique.

Mike: So you’re going to place it on the floor and you’re going to grab as high as you can with your shoulder range of motion. You’re going to stretch out, elongate your bowels and your GI tract. When you’re sitting bent over, they’re more compressed, so the idea is to elongate and stretch them out. Sometimes this gets things moving, at least for Robert it does. What you want to do is grab up high and then you’re going to do your belly breaths again like we talked about earlier. Inhale through your nose, expand your stomach, and then breathe out. When you inhale through your nose, make sure you’re not elevating your shoulders. You want to push your stomach out. You want to do this five times in a row and see if this helps. Do you want to talk about the other option?

Brad: Well I do want to emphasize, if this is not comfortable, or if it hurts your shoulder or something like that, it’s not for you. This is not for everyone.

Mike: But the other option, you can do the same technique but add some rotation to each direction. Go five each way. Belly breathe while you do this.

Brad: You really need to learn to be relaxed with this. Be sure to breathe, and relax. We’re going to let things move, so to speak, literally.

Mike: So if you’re having constipation problems, try these out. See which ones work for you and obviously stick to that one. They’re not all going to work for everyone.

Brad: That’s right. And again, if you’re having problems with this, you’ll need to see your doctor about this, because you need to get things moving. If things aren’t working with a little effort, make sure you get checked out.

Mike: So, good luck on the toilet.

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