Does Running Help Constipation

As a runner who has experienced occasional bouts of constipation, I’ve often wondered if my running routine could actually help alleviate this uncomfortable condition. So, I decided to dive deep into the topic and explore the relationship between running and constipation.

Understanding Constipation

Constipation is a common digestive issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stools, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation. While diet and lifestyle play a significant role in constipation, physical activity, such as running, can also have an impact.

The Connection between Running and Digestion

When we engage in moderate to intense physical activities like running, our heart rate increases, promoting better blood circulation throughout the body, including the digestive system. This increased blood flow can help stimulate the muscles in the intestines, ultimately aiding in a smoother and more regular bowel movement.

Furthermore, running involves rhythmic movement of the abdominal muscles, which can also assist in promoting peristalsis – the wave-like contractions of the intestines that propel waste through the digestive tract. This movement can be especially beneficial for individuals struggling with sluggish bowel movements.

Other Benefits of Running for Digestion

In addition to promoting regular bowel movements, running offers several other benefits for digestion:

  1. Reduced Stress: Running is a great way to relieve stress, and high-stress levels can contribute to digestive issues, including constipation. By reducing stress, running may indirectly help alleviate constipation.
  2. Improved Gut Health: Regular exercise, including running, has been linked to a healthier gut microbiome. A diverse and balanced microbiome can support proper digestion and bowel movements.
  3. Weight Management: Running is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that helps maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can contribute to constipation, so managing weight through running may help prevent or alleviate constipation.

Tips for Running and Digestive Health

If you’re considering using running as a means to address constipation, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can worsen constipation, so make sure to drink enough water throughout the day and especially before and after your runs.
  • Gradually Increase Intensity: If you’re new to running, start with shorter distances and gradually increase your intensity and duration. Sudden high-intensity workouts may temporarily disrupt digestion.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Combine your running routine with a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – all of which promote healthy digestion.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you experience any discomfort or unusual symptoms during or after running, it’s essential to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional.


While running can be a beneficial component of a healthy lifestyle and may contribute to better digestion, it’s important to note that individual experiences may vary based on factors such as overall health, diet, and exercise routine. If constipation persists or becomes a chronic issue, it’s always best to seek medical advice for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

As for me, I’ve found that incorporating running into my routine has helped maintain regularity in my bowel movements and overall digestive well-being. Remember, consistency is key, and finding what works best for you individually is crucial for optimal digestive health.