Natural ways to restore regularity, when fiber and water doesn’t work

Many clients come to us complaining of digestive issues, particularly constipation. The most common recommendations given to overcome constipation is to increase fiber and water intake. However, this often does not take care of the problem. In fact, it can raise another set of issues; gas and bloating.

Constipation occurs primarily because of decreased peristalsis; the muscular contractions of the intestines that promotes movement of food through the GI tract.

Common issues with peristalsis

  • decreased bulk in stool (lack of magnesium and fiber)
  • sympathetic nervous system overload (fight-or-flight response)

For optimal colon health and regular bowel movement, you will need to address the balance sympathetic and parasympathetic drive, exercise, gut flora and magnesium levels.

  1. Sympathetic nervous system overdrive

    There are two major parts of the nervous system. The parasympathetic, which is activated when we relax, is known as the “rest and digest” part of our nervous system.  It stimulates blood flow to the digestive system, brain, extremities and sexual organs. The other part, the sympathetic nervous system, is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. It is activated when our body perceives stress. It reduces blood flow to the extremities, brain and digestive organs in preparation for a perceived survival situation. Sympathetic overdrive will reduce blood flow to the digestive system, reducing peristalsis. Slow, controlled breathing and Acupuncture are effective ways for “resetting” the nervous system and reducing stress. Book an appointment with our therapists to learn more about how acupuncture can help.

  2. Exercise

    Having optimal abdominal tone (namely the transverse abdominus, the body natural girdle) will provide support for the colon, liver, stomach to function optimally. This will prevent drooping of the organs abnormal pressure on the digestive tract and other organs. Book a complimentary consultations with our Exercise Coaches to see how we can improve your abdominal tone.

  3. Probiotics

    Gut flora or probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in human intestines, required to make various vitamins, and interfere with pathogenic bacteria. It also helps produce organic acids that help to stimulate peristalsis and to keep the pH of the intestines in check.

  4. Magnesium

    Magnesium helps peristalsis by allowing relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue in the intestines. In chronic long-term constipation, you may need to start with as much as 800 mg of magnesium per day in divided doses to get the intestines moving. A well-absorbed form of magnesium is crucial; amino acid chelated forms like magnesium taurate, citrate, malate and glycinate are some of the best supplemental forms of magnesium. Read more about magnesium here.

Healthy bowel movements are at least twice a day. If you are not on the regular and would like to change that, book an appointment with our Biosignature Practitioners and get down to the cause of the issue with our Naturopathic Doctors by running appropriate lab tests.

 

Did these tips work for you? What do you do for digestive distress? Share with us below!

How to improve your squat

There is no question that in order to perform a squat, you need healthy ankles, knees and hips. Muscle imbalances can develop in the majority of the sedentary population who sits on a chair all day. This can affect your ability to perform a safe and effective squat.

As mentioned in our previous article, when one segment is locked short and tight, the neighbouring segments will compensate by becoming long and weak. If your hip flexors are locked short, it will cause excessive flexion in the lumbar spine, pulling your torso forward. Squatting with tight psoas resembles something closer to a Good Morning knee bend complex, creating excessive strain on the lower back and knees overtime.

Limitation anywhere in the body can contribute to the problem. Overactive soleus (calf muscles), hamstrings, underactive glutes, erector spinae muscle can also contribute to the problem.

Squats, when done properly, can strengthen your adductors, hamstrings, glutes and core muscles. Here are some ways you can improve your squat and get the most bang out of your buck.

  1. Perform split squats. 

    These are the king of all lower body exercises. It strengthens your gluteus medius and vastus medialis in the front leg and lengthen the hip flexors on the back leg. Split squats will improve your overall squat, but squats will not improve your split squats. Do them.

  1. Fire your glutes. 

    Some of my favourite glute exercises are the 45’ back extension. Read more here about how to perform back extensions.

  1. Stretch your hamstrings. 

    Most of the sedentary population dip their butts at the bottom of the squat and they often associate that with weak lower back muscles. This is not always the case–it can be caused by short, overactive hamstrings. If you suffer from posterior pelvic tilt, also known as the no-ass syndrome, you might want to read this article.

  1. Improve ankle mobility. 

    Perform seated calf raise with a 2210 tempo. By holding 2 seconds at the bottom, you can promote remodelling of the tight tissue holding you back from ankle flexion. Don’t know what the tempo means? Read about it here.

 

There you have it. Four simple ways to improve your squats, but first, do your split squats. Don’t know where to start or how to stretch? Book a complimentary session with a KX Exercise Coach to help you improve your flexibility and strength.

 

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