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When I power walk at 7:30 in the evening I am always interupted with a bowel movement and often there is no place to go. So my walk is ended early. What can I do to have a bm before I go to walk?
Question sent in anonymously
Fitness Expert replies:
Dear Wonder Walker
This is the bane of runner’s and walker’s lives as it is the ‘impact’ nature of walking and running that increases the rate of food leaving the large intestine and entering into the rectum giving you the ‘urge’ to go to the toilet! There are no simple ‘miracle’ solutions except I have a few suggestions for you to try:
1. Ignore the nutritionists and eat only low fibre foods during the afternoon and for dinner before you go walking. I’m not sure if you have dinner before you go out, so either have dinner when you get back and just a snack in the hour or so before you go, or eat a light, low-fibre dinner on those training evenings. This will cut down on the ‘bulk’ of food in your stomach.
2. Over time, if you try to ‘ignore’ the signals for emptying your gut, then you will slowly ‘re-train’ the messages that are sent to empty your bowels. Start the re-training, by trying to empty your bowels in the 30 mins before you go out for your walk.
3. Sometimes there are certain foods which ‘trigger’ bowel movements e.g. caffeine. You could do either of two things here – use this to your advantage by having a coffee in the hour before you go walking, thus, encouraging ‘peristalsis’ (moving of the gut contents into the rectum) which will mean you might empty your bowels prior to training, or alternatively, don’t have any stimulants such as tea or coffee in the 2 hrs leading up to your training, so that it slows down the gut movements!
4. The last solution is the hardest, but if bowel movements are a real problem, then maybe you could change the time that you train. We are all ‘creatures’ of habit and if it is habitual for you to have to ‘go’ at this time of night, then you either have to ‘switch-off’ your brain’s messages to the rectum and ignore the signals or change your training time to accommodate your ‘habits’!