- If you have a bowel movement only once every two days, you might be constipated
- Besides taking medication, you can try exercising and sleeping right to help you poop more regularly
- Intermittent fasting and probiotic supplements can also benefit your digestive system
While we don't like thinking about it too much, good pooping habits are an important part of your overall health.
And if you're not doing number two at least once a day, there might be something in your life that's making your gut unhappy.
While you should see a medical professional in serious cases, a little self-care can go a long way toward getting your intestines working normally again.
Here are four easy changes you can make to your lifestyle to help reset your gut:
Exercise – even if it's just a walk
Even light exercise can help your body process food better and faster.
According to WebMD, the higher your heart rate, the more contractions take place in your intestines, which helps you move stools more quickly.
It also means there's less time for water to be absorbed from your gut, making it easier to push through your stools.
However, it's important not to exercise right after a meal. Your body needs time to digest the food, and exercising right after eating redirects blood away from your gut, slowing down your digestion.
Take your probiotics
You get bad bacteria and good bacteria, and the latter can help your digestive system stay on the right track. Make sure you have enough good bacteria by taking a probiotic supplement.
But not all probiotics are equal. Look for one that is a human strain, clearly identified with a registration number from an international culture bank such as the American Type Culture Collection. Also look out for one with 100 million cfu (colony forming units) of good bacteria.
While Healthline notes that it doesn't matter too much whether you take probiotics with or without a meal, the main thing is to be consistent, so maybe taking it first thing before breakfast can help cement it into your routine.
There's also evidence that the microorganisms in probiotics survive better with foods like oatmeal, low-fat milk, fat, sugar and carbs, but make sure it's the healthy kind like whole fruit or a slice of brown bread.
You can also increase your probiotics intake naturally with yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and other fermented foods.
Intermittent fasting could help jumpstart your gut
Fasting for around 16 hours between meals could help reset your gut if it's not performing optimally.
An integrative medicine doctor told MBG Health that you can give your stomach a rest from the digestive process by not eating for a while.
A good way to do this is eating your last meal at eight in the evening and only eating again at 12 the next day.
Intermittent fasting also puts focus on what you're putting in your body by promoting mindful eating, which can only improve your gut health.
Sort out your sleeping schedule
It's well-known that too much or too little sleep has an impact on your health, and also on your gut health.
Studies have found a link between certain digestion disorders and a disruption in circadian rhythms, which helps regulate sleep in your body.
One study focused on healthy nurses with no digestive disorders and found that those who worked normal hours during the day had considerably fewer constipation symptoms than nurses who worked night shifts.
So if your morning routine isn't working as smoothly as normal, check your sleeping patterns.
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