Constipation is Temporary
I am certain that as a student in exercise science 35 years ago, never once did I aspire to write a blog about constipation. If, however, you’re an older adult, you’re working with older adults, or you have older adult parents, it’s going to come up.
Truly, it comes up with younger people more than you might suspect too. Women in general tend to think that it’s just them or just their “normal.” Any one of these six things alone may help you and combining them will buff up your digestive system, or that of your parents. Irregularity, is not normal.
Before the Metamucil, the suppositories, or enemas, let’s talk about what you can do more easily, more comfortably, and more predictably.
Maybe you’re healthy and young. If you’re reluctant to exercise because you feel heavy or bloated, you’re not alone.
Magnesium is one of the most frequent micronutrient deficiencies for women. It’s a powerhouse for health though! It helps you relax, and improves sleep. It aids a thriving metabolism and prevents headaches. It also helps with constipation. We’ve got an RDA of 400 mg but RDAs were designed to prevent disease, not necessarily to help you thrive in 2018. A number of things can also deplete you of magnesium, meaning you really need more all the way around.
Even if you’ve got a multivitamin with magnesium, an evening (with dinner) magnesium supplement can help you sleep and help elimination in the morning. If you start with 200 or 250 mg you can test that for a few days and double that for another three days to find your best spot. It’s a “to tolerance” kind of micronutrient.
If a bath in Epsom salt appeals to you more, that may work too. That method is probably best for sleep while getting into your gut will help more with digestion.
- Do you know how many grams of fiber you should get daily?
- Do you know how many grams of fiber you get daily?
If you’re not digesting optimally, it’s not working. Let’s look at increasing. Start by knowing what your average intake is now. Then add 5 grams to that and stay there for a week. Then add 5 more to that and stay there for a week. Both too little and too much fiber can contribute to constipation.
You don’t want harsh fiber supplements that come from one source of fiber. Your body is used to eating a plate or bowl of food, getting fiber from a variety of sources. Flipping 50 Fiber Boost ** pulls fiber from cranberries, apples, flax and a total of 5 real food sources so it’s just like nature would do it. But if you’re traveling, time crunched, your older parents are not preparing full meals for themselves, Fiber Boost is easy to stir into a smoothie, or a soup, or any drink for a quick fiber boost. A serving is 4 grams, or I’ll add a more generous scoop. My breakfast smoothie has between 15 and 20 grams of fiber alone
The recommended is 21 grams for women over 50. The average American gets 15. Paleo/cavemen ate 135 grams a day. Shoot for 35-50 grams especially if you have significant weight to lose.
**Visting between Feb 22-28, 2018 Save 15% on Fiber Boost (for you and mom!)**
Fiber, Metamucil, laxitives… nothing is going to work without adequate water. So look at your water intake. A family member recently told me she was drinking 4-5 glasses a day. Not enough. Clearly. If you increase fiber you must increase water too! Water may be the answer to your constipation.
My mom has a hard time drinking more water. I’ve got a few suggestions. Sparkling water with a little stevia or fruit added to make it more appealing. More soups. Then there’s one more secret weapon and that‘s bone broth.
Kettle & Fire bone broth has become a new passion of mine! I find myself drinking it because it takes so good! I’m sending my mom a care package! Especially in cooler months it’s a great addition to her afternoon or go-with item for a meal that also adds protein –something I’m sure she’s not getting enough of either!
#4 Digestive Enzyme
Significant literature exists about the reduction of digestive enzymes as we age. By 75 there’s a theory that digestive enzymes are reduced to a very low percent of what we had in our 20s.
If you’re eating under stress frequently, you also may not have the digestive enzymes that help you breakdown food beneficially even in your 50s.
You’re probably going to want to target relief and getting regular first, then once you do help yourself avoid issues in the future and start absorbing all the goodness in foods you eat by giving your digestive enzymes a boost.
Another is bone broth. Again, it’s a solution to Kettle & Fire is also more delicious, filling, and stops cravings dead. My favorite is Mushroom & Chicken.
Balance your good and bad gut bacteria by taking a probiotic. You can try yogurt with active cultures. I know it was recommended for my mom by her doctor. But we’d found that she did better without gluten, wheat, and dairy. A probiotic is another pill but you can also find it in powder form and it mixes into water easily.
If you (or your parents) take prescription medications or over-the-counter meds regularly they can harm the good/bad bacteria balance in the gut. So a probiotic is probably a good idea.
I’m going to take a stab and guess that many older generation adults don’t get adequate healthy fats as they age. Using a high quality oil can be a big help in lubricating from the inside out. Skin, hair, brain health and internal organs all need fat as we age.
Since olive oil is not all we think it is, and coconut oil is still a flavor favorite but missing monounsaturated fat, I’ve switched to avocado oil for 90% of my cooking.
I love the taste and go through a bottle every couple weeks! I’m a part of the avocado oil club! You can have your wine!
Shall we address the obvious at this fitness site? I realize you may not feel like moving a lot if you feel “full” inside or bloated. Start one or two of these things already mentioned and start walking. Even that will help. Then target your core. Strong core muscles will help you move things through your system faster and can help relieve constipation.
A few simple things to do in case you can’t do more vigorous core training:
- Sit in a chair away from the back and move your knees as if you’re marching. Go slowly so you have to use your core to maintain your upright position.
- Use an exercise band (Versa loop) around your thighs just above knees. Sitting in the chair with feet together open and close your knees against resistance of the band.
- Stand and side step with the band just above knees. Go 4 to one side and back the other way. Then try six, then eight.
- If you can lie on the floor, try starting with stabilization exercises. For a more progressive beginner, intermediate, and advanced set try The Flat Abs Better Back dvd.