Travel is a wonderful, exciting growth opportunity. It can help you relax, learn, relate, and access joy. It gives you a broader perspective on the world. It helps you meet people and appreciate nature. I think in some way or another, we all are born explorers, and traveling is a modern way to tap into that. Plus, at times we all need to “get away” from our routine for a little bit.
But travel can have a significant impact on your body and its natural rhythms.
The prolonged sitting, a change in your normal eating habits, sleep changes, and dehydration can increase your likelihood of constipation, which can sput strain on your pelvic floor. It can even predispose you to incontinence down the road.
The person who stretches their hamstrings, does a few cat/cows, or side shuffles back and forth while waiting for your flight. Or, if driving, it’s totally ok to be THAT person who asks to get out and walk every now and then. Ideally every 2 hours.
Don’t let the fear of having to get up to pee all the time stop you from drinking water. The best way I’ve found to stay hydrated while traveling is to fill up a huge water bottle at a safe water source and then keep it with you all day. There are even apps out there that allow you to set reminders to take a sip of water.
Twisting can help stimulate something called peristalsis, or the smooth muscle contraction within your intestines. It helps to move food through and digest it properly. The longer food sits in your body, the more dehydrated the waste becomes, which makes it harder to pass. As an added bonus, gentle rotation is also one of the best things you can do to keep the discs in your low back healthy.
Your organs have a natural protective reaction to slow down and conserve energy in unknown environments. Walking keeps your blood flowing, which keeps your inner organs functioning. I always feel like I learn the most about a place when I walk somewhere too. There are more opportunities to explore what catches your attention, talk with a local, or smell the local scents.
It's common for women to “hold it” when traveling and seek a “better place” to go number #2, even when you had already started to feel that pressure. Ignoring those signals confuses your body’s voiding reflexes. If you create a pattern of holding it, the messaging between your bowels, brain, rectum, and pelvic floor can be less efficient.
When sitting for a prolonged amount of time, position your hips slightly above your knees. You can achieve this with a little towel or blanket roll under your “sits” bones. This keeps your lower abdominal region from being so compressed.
When you are going #2, you want your knees above your hips. This unkinks your colon and makes passing stool much easier. It puts you closer to the anatomical position we were designed to poo. So, yes, when traveling one of the main things I miss about home is my squatty potty. When you're away from home, you can rest your feet on your luggage to achieve this position.
Stimulating your intestines to get them into their digestive mode. Rub a little bit of coconut oil or lotion on your tummy to help the suction of the cups. Then, start just above your L lower abdomen, with about 50% overlap, and work your way over to the R lower abdomen. Then, glide the cup from right to left! I made a demonstration video here!
Either in capsule or yogurt form. This will help keep the healthy kind of bacteria necessary for your gut to process new foods better.
My coaching services are virtual, so as long as you have internet access/phone service we can always hop on a call to talk if something is bothering you! I remember that while traveling in South America I didn’t go number 2 for 11 days. It was so uncomfortable that it was hard for me to enjoy an entire beautiful, rich-history country. I don’t want this to happen to you! Life’s too short to have adventures curtailed by grouchy GI systems. If you would like for me to travel to you for some in-person coaching, I am open to that! Email connect@train4birth to inquire.
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