Exercises For Remedying Constipation
( Originally Published 1904 )
Those whose faith in exercise is of recent birth, whose enthusiasm for muscular exertion is based al-most wholly on the good results they have noted in others, and who are. as yet ignorant of its true physiological value, are too prone to attach great weight to "local" or "special" exercises. And they often use them to the total exclusion of other forms of exercise that are intended for the upbuilding of functional vitality.
Constipation is due to a break in the functional powers. Hence, as a part of its cure, functional vigor must be restored by a system of general exercises designed for that purpose. The local, or special exercises are to be used only as a part of the day's muscle-making work.
Bear this in mind always; you can secure relief from your malady most rapidly by following all the rules, and by practicing all the exercises, that apply to general functional vigor. And this is the only effective way of obtaining a permanent recovery.
Regular, systematic, physical exercises, tending to build up the muscular system, should be adopted; added thereto, long walks and deep breathing exercises will be found to be greatly to your advantage. Do not under any circumstances constrict the body at the waist line. Allow the most perfect freedom of action in that region.
As to the special or local exercises, Nature has pointed the way unerringly. When you are trying, painfully and with little or no success to evacuate, what form of muscular exertion do you instinctively employ at such a time? Almost without realizing it you bend forward, as if trying to press your chest upon your knees, and often in thus- doing you: carry the trunk to one side or the other of the legs. In whatever way you-bend, you are certain to. be trying to compress the abdomen—to drive it back.
Nov, these movements are made instinctively at the moment of suffering, and therefore they are the right ones. What you are trying to do with the aid of . your contortions is to compel the muscles of the intestines to contract and relax alternately, thus forcing along the feces toward the point of ejectment. When the constipation is not too severe, the movements aid you in obtaining relief. But they should not only be made when you are endeavoring to bring about an evacuation but, in addition, should be carried out persistently and regularly at other times for the purpose of strengthening the, intestinal muscles and increasing the regularity and activity of their contractions.
Twice a day, in connection with your regular exercises, recline on the back and bring the right leg up as far as you can, lock the hands over the knee and press it against the body as strongly as possible, as in Fig. 1. Then repeat same exercise with the left leg. Alternate with right and left leg in this exercise and continue until fairly tired.
After this, take the following exercise while seated in a chair. Bend forward as far as you can, pressing your body against your right leg, as in Fig. 2. Then repeat the exercise with the body pressed against the left leg. Continue until slightly tired. Never strain at stool. When this becomes necessary, simply .bend forward and press the body against the right and left leg, alternating from one to the other, and you will find that the desired effect will be produced.
Always have your room. thoroughly ventilated. Try to get into the habit of drinking a glass of water before retiring and on arising in the morning.
Be sure to secure from seven to-nine hours sleep, and take a cold bath every day upon arising if you can inureyourself to it. If you can stand a cold sitz bath, take it after rubbing the. body thoroughly with a rough towel. This will be found to be of considerable advantage in assisting you towards recovery.