Can Working Out Cause Constipation?

If you’re someone who works out regularly, you might be wondering if there’s a link between exercise and constipation. Here’s what you need to know.


It is often assumed that getting plenty of exercise regularly leads to improved digestive health and regularity, however this is not always the case. In certain situations, working out can lead to constipation. While it may seem counterintuitive, there are some instances where exercise can interfere with digestion, leading to bouts of constipation and bowel issues.

An individual’s diet, lifestyle and environment are all important factors to consider when analyzing the relationship between exercise and constipation. Different types of workouts can have different effects on one’s digestive system, so it’s essential for those who experience constipation related to exercise to explore all possible causes in order to properly correct the problem. Knowing what type of workout might be triggering the condition is a big part of figuring out how to fix it.

Causes of Constipation

Constipation is a common condition that occurs when feces become difficult to pass. This can be a result of various factors including lifestyle and dietary habits, medical conditions, medications, and more. One of the lesser known causes of constipation is exercise. In this section, we will explore how working out can cause constipation and what you can do to prevent it.


Diet is a major component in the causes of constipation. A diet low in fiber can lead to difficulty in passing stools as fiber helps to move material through the digestive system. Additionally, dehydration can increase the risk of constipation if there is not enough fluid to help break down food and assist in passage through the intestines. Consumption of processed foods which lack natural dietary fibers can also lead to constipation, as can eating too much of certain kinds of food, such as meat or dairy products. Caffeine consumption has also been linked to constipation due changing digestion patterns and interfering with absorption of water and nutrients from food. Consuming a balanced diet that includes foods high in dietary fibers like fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as drinking plenty of fluids is key for avoiding constipation issues caused by diet.

Lack of Exercise

Physical activity is important for maintaining healthy digestive function, yet a lack of exercise can be a major contributor to constipation. Regular exercise helps stimulate the movement of waste through the intestines, allowing it to be easily expelled instead of becoming trapped in the bowel. A decrease in physical activity can affect normal peristalsis, or muscular contraction of your gastrointestinal tract and result in constipation. Additionally, dehydration and inadequate fiber intake are both common side effects of reduced physical activity and can contribute to constipation. It is important for those living sedentary lifestyles to increase their daily physical activity along with other lifestyle modifications in order to promote digestion health and reduce their risk of constipation.

Medication Use

The use of certain medications can cause constipation. Pain relievers, such as opioid painkillers, antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate, and antidepressants may be among the medications associated with constipation. Calcium supplements and vitamins containing iron may also be contributing factors. These medications all work to slow down your gastrointestinal motility while they address the conditions they’re meant to treat. If you think your medication is causing constipation, speak to your healthcare provider about adjusting doses or finding an alternative medication that will not cause the same level of constipation. He or she may also recommend diet modifications, intestinal stimulants such as laxatives and stool softeners, or a combination of diet and medication changes to help avoid chronic issues with constipation.

How Working Out Can Cause Constipation

Working out can cause constipation in some people. This is because exercise can increase the motion in the digestive tract and make it more difficult for your body to absorb liquids.In addition, when you work out, your body releases hormones that slow down digestion – which can also lead to constipation. Let’s explore this in further detail.


Exerting yourself when working out causes your body to sweat, which is one of the largest causes of dehydration in athletes. Drinking enough water and other fluids is important to maintain healthy levels of hydration in the body. Dehydration can make it difficult for your intestines to break down food properly, which can result in constipation. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, it’s important to stay hydrated before and during your workout by drinking plenty of fluids like water and electrolyte-infused drinks. Also trying to incorporate more fiber into your diet can help prevent constipation.

Low-Fiber Diet

When we think about exercise and nutrition, digestion may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, fitness and healthy eating can still have a substantial impact on our gastrointestinal health — including constipation.

If you’re experiencing constipation while trying to stay fit, it could be related to your diet. Low-fiber diets can lead to constipation even if you maintain a healthy workout routine. Fiber is essential for regular bowel movements and aids the body in eliminating waste. Without enough dietary fiber, stool becomes dry and hard which makes it difficult to pass.

In order to help prevent or ease constipation caused by low-fiber diets, it is important to incorporate plenty of fiber-rich foods into your meals throughout the day. Foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts/seeds, whole grains, and legumes are all excellent sources of fiber which can help keep your digestive system running smoothly. It is also good practice to drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to stay hydrated – dehydration can also lead to delayed bowel movements or constipation. Aside from changes in diet, incorporating light aerobic exercise can also aid with digestion by improving circulation within the body.

Low-Calorie Diet

People on a low-calorie diet may experience constipation as a result of their reduced caloric intake. Because low-calorie diets often involves eating fewer fiber-rich foods and drinking less liquids, it can dry out food and slow down digestion. When your body is not processing the food quickly enough, it causes stool to become harder making bowel movements more difficult. Eating fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables helps keep your digestive system moving properly by drawing water into the intestines and creating bulk in the stools. It is also beneficial to drink plenty of fluids such as water or clear fruit juices or sugary drinks that contain electrolytes like Gatorade or Powerade Replenishment®.

Prevention of Constipation

Working out can be beneficial to your overall health, but it can also bring some unexpected side-effects such as constipation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of constipation and ensure that you stay healthy and active. This section will provide an overview of the preventive measures you can take to reduce your chances of becoming constipated after any type of workout.

Increase Fiber Intake

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, found mostly in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, and grains. It adds bulk to your stool and can help food pass more quickly through your digestive system. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet is one of the most important ways to protect against constipation and other digestive problems. Eating more fiber-rich foods can help make it easier for waste to move through the intestines and exit the body quickly. High-fiber foods include whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and some vegetables all provide excellent sources of dietary fiber. Additionally, supplementing your diet with soluble fiber supplements such as psyllium husk or glucomannan can also be beneficial when needed.

Increase Water Intake

One of the best ways to prevent or ease constipation is to increase water intake. Many health studies have shown that most people do not drink enough water each day and this can cause their motions to become hard and difficult to pass. If you are someone who is physically active on a regular basis, you may need even more hydration than someone who is less active due to increased perspiration. The general recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids per day, with half coming from water; however, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), women should increase that amount by about two glasses for a daily total of 12 cups. You may find it useful to keep a water bottle with you throughout your day so that you can remind yourself to stay hydrated.

Increase Physical Activity

Increasing physical activity is an effective way to prevent constipation. Regular exercise helps move food through the intestines more efficiently and improves your overall health. Exercise also encourages balanced digestion and relaxation. Additionally, physical activity often helps people sleep better which can decrease stress levels and help prevent constipation from developing.

In order to optimize digestive health, it’s important to choose types of exercise that are enjoyable for you – this makes it easier for you to stay consistent in your activity. Popular forms of exercises include: walking or jogging, running, swimming, biking, hiking and weight training. Yoga is also a great choice for those seeking gentle exercise with a focus on relaxation and breathwork that can reduce symptoms of constipation. If lifestyle constraints prevent you from getting enough physical activity outdoors or in gyms consider at-home exercises like bodyweight workouts, even just few minutes a day can be beneficial in curbing constipation symptoms when done regularly over time.


In conclusion, exercise may cause constipation in some individuals due to dehydration or certain types of exercise. However, as long as you are properly hydrated and obtain the necessary nutrients from your diet, working out should not cause constipation. Moreover, engaging in regular physical activity can help to promote regular digestive health by increasing muscle contractions and pushing food through the intestines. Additionally, if an individual decides to take a supplement while exercising, they must be sure to have a reliable source that provides clean ingredients that do not interfere with proper digestion. Ultimately, there is no definitive answer as everyone’s biochemistry and digestive concerns are different; however it is important to be mindful of how physical activity can impact your gut health and address any issues promptly if they arise.

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