When we travel, many of us can become constipated or have infrequent or sluggish bowel movements. As a result, it behooves the frequent traveler to find ways to avoid constipation and maintain regularity before, during and after a trip. Regularity is extremely important to our health and can have a direct impact on our energy levels, our moods and our ability to perform. Here are some tips:
- Get in Fiber Rich Foods: One of the reasons we can become constipated or have trouble with bowel movements is that we don’t consume enough fiber. It pays to get in a minimum of 25 grams of fiber a day. When traveling, however, I recommend you increase this to 35 grams or more per day. If you aren’t used to consuming a lot of fiber rich foods, then work your body up to this amount slowly. Otherwise, you may become excessively gassy or uncomfortable. Make sure to start off your day with a breakfast high in fiber rich foods, such as fruit, bran cereal or oatmeal. Fruit, in particular, has a tremendous effect on helping to avoid constipation. As a result, aim to have three servings of fruit a day.
- Stay Well Hydrated: Traveling can cause dehydration which can make stools dry and hard. When this happens, we can become constipated as a result. In order to soften stool and maintain regular bowel movements, drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink the number of ounces equaling your weight in pounds divided by two. (E.g., if you are 160 pounds, drink a minimum of 80 ounces of water). Further, water helps to keep your digestive tract healthy and clean.
- Exercise: Maintaining a travel workout program is a great way to avoid constipation. Exercise helps to decrease the time it takes for food to move through the large intestine and keeps bowel movements loose. Further, when you do aerobic exercise and core exercises (abdominal exercises), you contract your stomach muscles which helps to move stools quickly.
- Breathe Deeply: Taking time to breath deeply once every day can help to avoid constipation. Deep breathing exercises help to massage the abdominal muscles, as well as contract and release the muscles in the intestines. This ultimately increases your chances of having bowel movements.
- Probiotics: If you are still constipated after trying the above, you may want to consider supplementing your diet with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that can be found naturally in a the gastrointestinal tract. Supplementing the diet with probiotics helps to aid in digestion which in turn can help to avoid constipation. Probiotics can be found naturally in cabbage and artichokes. But, when we travel, it can be challenging to get these into our diet. As a result, consider packing supplements for the trip. A couple to consider include: Align and Accuflora.
Do you become constipated when you travel? What do you do to avoid constipation and maintain regular bowel movements?