8 Exercises That Can Help To Manage Constipation

23 February 2022

Even with a varied diet, children with limited mobility can still get constipated. Less movement means that the bowels work less effectively, but research shows that some stretching exercises can help reduce constipation (Awan & Masood, 2016).

If you are on a toileting journey with your child, these eight stretches are a great place to start to help manage constipation. You should aim to hold each stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times. 

Calf Stretch

Lie your child down with their feet flat against a wall, and straighten their legs out as much as they can. Encourage them to lift their toes and top part of the foot off the wall, whilst keeping their heels against the wall.

Hamstring Stretch

Whilst sitting up with legs out straight, encourage your child to reach forward to try to touch their toes. They might need help to keep their legs flat on the floor. 

Hip Adductor Stretch

Encourage your child to lie on their back and pretend they are making snow angels, stretching their arms and legs out as wide as they can! 

Hip Flexor Stretch

Whilst lying on their tummy, ask your child to push up with their arms, making sure their hips stay flat on the floor.

Back Extensor Stretch

Lie your child on their back. Encourage them to bring their knees up towards their chest, as if scrunching up into a ball. 

Trunk Rotators

Whilst your child is sitting up, place a toy behind them on their left hand side, and see if they can reach around towards it. Do the same for the right hand side, and encourage them to try to reach with both hands for more of a stretch. 

Upper Extremity

Whilst sitting up, challenge your child to reach up to the sky as high as they can. Whilst their arms are in the air, ask them to lean to the left and then the right, for 10 seconds each side.

Bicycle Kicks

Lay your child down on their back and gently move their legs in a bicycle motion. Not only will this help with constipation, but it helps develop good leg and trunk muscles.

GottaGo, Firefly's innovative, portable toilet seat also helps to make toilet training easier for families of children with additional needs. This lightweight seat creates a supported squat posture, which makes for easier, more efficient toileting. This purchase includes a useful toileting guide, providing more great tips to help you through every stage of toilet training. 


  • Awan, W.A. and Masood, T. 2016. Role of stretching exercises in the management of constipation in spastic cerebral palsy. Journal of Ayub Medical College, 28(4), pp. 798-801.
  • Awan, W.A. and Masood, T. 2021. Effectiveness of physical therapy for improving constipation in spastic cerebral palsy. Alternative therapies in Health and Medicine, 27(1), pp. 178-184
  • Penagini F, Mameli C, Fabiano V, Brunetti D, Dilillo D, Zuccotti GV. 2015. Dietary intakes and nutritional issues in neurologically impaired children. Nutrients, 7(11), pp. 9400-9415.
  • Veugelers R, Benninga MA, Calis. EA et al. 2010. Prevalence and clinical presentation of constipation in children with severe generalized cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurology, 52(9):e216-e221


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