Exercise and Lifestyle

Together with good nutrition, a healthy
lifestyle can help with constipation.


Exercise is thought to help relieve constipation by speeding up the time it takes for food to move through the intestinal tract (avoiding re-absorption of water which causes dehydration of the stools). An increase in breathing and heart rate may help stimulate the natural muscle action that moves food through the digestive system, allowing for regular bowel motions and a softly formed stool.

If you have other medical conditions you should consult your healthcare professional before commencing any new exercise activities.



Constipation is an extremely common digestive complaint during pregnancy. Exercising can help reduce the symptoms, but it's important the exercise chosen doesn't put too much stress on either mother or baby. A healthcare professional can offer more specific advice about what’s appropriate for mums-to-be.


Constipation can be a common complaint for older people. A lower food and fluid intake and some medications can contribute to constipation, but reduced physical movement may also play a part. Regular exercise may help and a healthcare professional can advise about what activities are suitable.


Children who suffer from constipation complain about the uncomfortable symptoms. Healthy nutrition and exercise are important for them too, and healthcare professionals are well equipped to help.



It's hard in these times not to get stressed with the pressures of everyday life, but stress is thought to affect the digestive system and may contribute to constipation. Ask your doctor about ways to manage stress if you believe it is a serious issue for you.


It is important not to resist the urge to have a bowel movement. Repeatedly avoiding the urge to go to the toilet is a known cause of constipation.


Changes in diet, a lack of hydration, unfamiliar surroundings and less physical activity (sometimes due to a long bus or plane journey) means constipation can be quite common when on holiday. It's important to plan ahead when going away. Regular sufferers of constipation should be mindful to include fibre in their diet, maintain adequate fluid intake and do some gentle exercise while on holiday. A doctor or pharmacist can also recommend a laxative treatment for travellers who suffer from constipation. MOVICOL® is a suitable remedy.