It's that time again. While the weather is still warm, the days are slowly but surely getting shorter. Before we know it, summer is over, school is back in session and everyone is getting back to their regular routines. September isn't the start of the calendar year, but it is seen as a time to "reset" and that can include setting healthy habits. By paying attention to our bodies, it's possible to tell if something in our lives needs changing.
Believe it or not, our bowels can be a big indicator of the state of our overall health. For instance, if you're pooping fewer than three times a week or are having difficulty when you do, you could be constipated, which can affect your mood, energy and concentration. This is something one in four Canadians are suffering from and should not be ignored as it means your body is trying to tell you something – whether it's an indication of a lack of fibre, fluids or physical activity.
So, when September rolls around, here are three simple things you can do to fine-tune your body, and your belly:
Commit to mealtime (and water!)
Your body loves routine. In fact, just developing a regular and consistent eating schedule can do wonders for your digestive health and your overall wellbeing. Water should always be a priority as well. Try to drink a full glass every morning, right when you wake up. The goal is 8-10 glasses of liquid a day, which can include water, juices, milk, soup and other drinks. At the same time, try to cut back on caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks. If you usually drink two cups of coffee in the morning and one after lunch, work to cut one out of your routine.
Don't cheat your sleep
Sleep is crucial to protecting our mental and physical health, immune system and overall quality of life. Being deprived of sleep puts you at risk for a host of diseases including heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and stroke. This is because our bodies work according to a natural sleep-wake cycle, also referred to as a circadian rhythm, which controls our body temperature, our hormone levels, and the way our organs and body systems work. Unsurprisingly, it also controls our digestive system. Experts say the average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Given what's at stake, getting into a proper sleep routine should be one of your priorities this fall.
Trust your gut
We all live increasingly hectic lives, where setting and committing to routines can feel seemingly impossible. Following the advice above will help you maximize your own health, but sometimes we need a little help. Trust your gut - if you're paying attention to your body and realize that you're constipated, do something about it. Start by increasing your amount of exercise and intake of water and fibre. If that isn't helping, Dulcolax® is a laxative tablet that can provide dependable, effective overnight relief of occasional constipation and help you get back to your regular self. So, this September, get back into your best health habits. Your body will thank you next summer.