Constipation Prevention Tips
for Sedentary Workers / Couch Potatos
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How to Avoid Getting Constipated When Sedentary
N J Howell
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Do you work at a sedentary office job that keeps you sitting at a desk or in front of a computer all day? Are you a couch potato? Do you have a health restriction, illness or conditon that has forced you to be more sedentary than normal? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you may find yourself dealing with chronic constipation. The body is designed to move and sitting in one position (particularly if we slump and cramp the colon area with our posture) may lead to problems with elimination.
This is part of a series on causes of constipation and the most common triggers that may allow a congested bowel to develop. Sedentary work can cause elimination issues for two reasons. First, you don't move much at work. Second, when you get home, you're tire and you may not want to move much then either. Lack of physical movement may well be at the root of issues you are having being regular.
That having been said, this series is for otherwise healthy people who have problems with healthy elimination and not represented as replacement for medical evaluation if needed. Chronic constipation may have underlying medical reasons so it's important to rule those out if you feel you have geniune issue that doesn't respond to simple healthy adjustments.
Constipation resulting from sedentary lifestyle:
I know a bit about the kind of colon congestion that stems from being sedentary. For example, working on this series today I suddently realized I'd been sitting at the computer for over three hours. Geeze. Getting up now before even continuing this page .....
Tip #1: Get up!
OK, I'm back and this leads nicely into my first constipation prevention tip for the sedentary. Stand up, move around, stretch and get some water, OFTEN! I know some may be sort of chained to the desk, if in customer service or at a switchboard but you can still stand up, or lean over, stretch down from the chair, lean in toward the desk and back away from the desk, etc. Do something at least once per hour to break the position you are habitually keeping because of the nature of your work.
I used to set a timer for an hour and each time it went off, I'd be reminded to get up from my chair, stretch and walk up and down the hall. Considering how long I sat here today without realizing it, it might be time to find that timer and do that again! Most computers these days have an alarm you can set right in the computer itself so that you'll be periodically reminded to get up and move a bit.
Tip #2: Keep water at your desk
The other thing I invariably notice with sedentary workers is that they become dehydrated. It's coffee in the morning and colas or other non-water beverages at the desk. I'm a coffee drinker so I get it. That's the first thing I want when I wake up. However, on those mornings where I am able to discipline myself to drink water first (before coffee or tea), I notice two things ... I awake and get going easier than on coffee alone and I am not as apt to forget water later on because my body has had a taste of it's preferred beverage. Drinking water throughout the day, in particular with a sedentary job, is vital for healthy elimination. I suggest keeping water at your desk and sipping it throughout.
Tip #3: Check your computer screen position
Your computer screen should be at eye level. Having to look down at a screen all day may encourage slumping and is hard on the neck and shoulders too. Simply raising my computer screen to eye level (I put books under my monitor - if you use a tablet, could do that as well or figure out some way to raise the tablet rather than sitting in your lap which, again, will encourage slumping and may cramp the colon area.
Tip #4: Eat healthy at the desk
Snacking on candy, refined sugar snacks or white flour crackers contributes to eliminatory issues. Choose healthy snacks and keep them at your desk. Idf you snack at your desk, try snacking on dried fruit and nuts or fresh fruit if possible. If you eat crackers or cookies, choose whole grain or sprouted grain versions for more fiber and less junk.
Eliminatory Health Disclaimer:This health care information is educational in nature and never intended to replace the advice of your chosen healthcare professional. If you are under a doctor's care for intestinal health issues or have a medical condition such as IBS, Crohn's or other colon issue, please check with your doctor before adding anything new to your health care regimen.