Healthy Living

Maximizing Exercise with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Maximizing Exercise with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Exercise is a great way to stay healthy. It's a wonderful mood stabilizer, releases endorphins (the "feel good" hormone), and helps keep the bones and immune system in tip-top shape.

But what happens when there’s a chronic disease to think about? Can exercise actually help?

Anyone with a serious illness knows just how difficult it can be to simply get out of bed sometimes, let alone head to the gym and lift some weights.

IBD can make it hard to work out when you can barely get out of bed some days

That's exactly how it is when you have inflammatory bowel disease. It's been shown in several research studies that people who exercise and have IBD tend to do better.

However, having IBD alone can sometimes get in the way of your workout routine. Some days may be so bad that you can't even get out of bed. On top of that, some exercises can even do more harm than good. So what's the best way for you to get the most out of your work out?

Low- and moderate-impact are the way to go

Dr. Ryan Williams, a colorectal surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, shares some general tips for exercising with IBD. He warns against using any type of high-intensity exercise because it can trigger bowel movements, worsening inflammation in your gut. Instead, he advises that Crohn's patients engage in moderate to low-impact workouts. These might be a brisk walk or light jog at the park, or perhaps swimming in a heated pool.

Avoid eating too much before you exercise

Another tip is to avoid eating too much before going to your workout. Working out on a heavy meal can worsen the inflammation in your bowels as well. Avoid eating several hours before you plan to go exercise. When you're exercising, make sure there's a bathroom for you nearby as well.

Strength training

Strength training is a great workout option for people who have IBD. Not only can it help with increasing strength and density of the bone, but it can also help to counteract the bone weakness that is a common side effect of treatment. Strength training also makes your muscles stronger with better endurance, which can help you with improving your daily functions and independence too. If you're interested in using strength training, talk with your doctor to see if they feel that it's a safe option for you. It's best to work with a surprised program where an exercise specialist can start you on a safe and enjoyable workout program for you.

Read on for some smart and sensible exercise ideas that can help you feel better if you live with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).