Exercise can help you manage stress and pain associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Recommendations designed specifically for IBD patients promote the benefits of exercise for overall health, minimizing or reversing muscle weakness, and for improving bone mineral density. Aerobic activity for 20 to 60 minutes two to five days every week, complemented by resistance training at least twice per week is recommended.[1]


You can probably handle gentler types of exercise when your UC or Crohn’s is active, but skip more rigorous workouts until your digestive system calms down. It is not recommended starting an intense regimen like CrossFit until your symptoms are controlled.


Lower-impact options like Pilates, yoga, tai chi, and barre classes are a good way to go. Be more aware of movements that squeeze or put pressure on your stomach, since those may irritate you.


Be prepared. If you want to go on an outdoors run or ride, and you know you might get diarrhea, stash some toilet paper or wet wipes in your pocket. Also, be aware of where restrooms may be located and keep your restroom card with you.


Regular exercise can help you manage stress and pain, relieving symptoms and, overall, making you healthier!  Speak with your doctor about starting an exercise regimen that is right for you.


[1]Narula N and Fedorak RN. Exercise and inflammatory bowel disease, Can J Gastroenterol 2008;22:497-504.