Incorporating Exercise Into Colitis Treatment
Exercise isn’t just for heart health and weight, but it can also be used to improve mood, strengthen bones and muscles, and more. What may be less well-known is how exercising and its benefits can help improve ulcerative colitis (UC) symptoms.
How does it help?
It is not uncommon for people with chronic conditions such as UC to have high stress levels. This stress can be related directly to the disease, or to the effect that the disease has on other parts of a person’s life. The challenges that chronic conditions create for people can infiltrate into their professional, personal, and social lives.
This kind of all-consuming stress can make colitis symptoms worse. Since exercise is known to relieve stress, it makes sense that it would alleviate UC symptoms that have arisen from increased stress levels. Even though it can be hard to motivate ourselves to get exercise, it is one thing that colitis patients have control over. Making this lifestyle modification to get regular exercise can result in many health benefits and improve people’s quality of life, but the key is that it needs to be regular. While this can be tough, it is not impossible. With a little motivation, patience, and perseverance, you can get going with your own exercise routine.
Depression is also prevalent in people who are fighting chronic conditions. Bowel diseases such as UC are unpredictable which can make their flare-ups and symptoms even more discouraging. This can result in sometimes embarrassing and painful situations. These repeat incidents can take a toll on a person’s mental health. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, talk to them about seeking professional help. This is not a battle that they have to fight alone. Additionally, exercise can lessen the effects of depression and anxiety.
Autoimmune diseases such as UC and Crohn’s disease can put people at increased risk for osteoporosis. While a diet that has adequate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium can help prevent this, so can exercise. Weight bearing exercises such as weightlifting and resistance training help to strengthen bones and is not just important for people with autoimmune diseases. It is also important for all women, since they are at higher risk than men of developing osteoporosis.
While medical advice can hardly be based off of one study (many are needed to form a conclusion on a topic), Washington University Medical School published a literature review that reported that exercise may be a lifestyle change that can lower people’s risk of colon cancer. Their results showed that it can lower peoples risk of colon cancer by 25 percent. Since people with UC are already at an increased risk of developing colon cancer, this study could be extra significant for this population. Even though more research is necessary, we have already showed that exercise has many benefits for people with UC, so if you have UC it can’t hurt to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Read on to learn more about the benefits that exercise has for ulcerative colitis.