EXERCISE AND SPORTS—GREAT IDEA FOR IBD
Exercise and participating in sports prove so many benefits, whether or not you have IBD:
- Strengthens your bones
- Tones and strengthens your muscles
- Lubricates your joints
- Releases endorphins that help you feel better
- Lessens tension and stress
- Improves your mood
Those benefits are particularly important for Crohnies and UCees (those with Crohn's disease or UC, ulcerative colitis), because bone weakness (osteoporosis) and joint problems (particularly, arthritis) are common with IBD.
But you often have to start slowly, especially if you haven't exercised in a while, have recently had a flare or are recovering from surgery.
- Try mild exercise at first, like walking, swimming, riding a bike, yoga or tai chi, and for shorter periods.
- Gradually increase the time you exercise and what you do, when you feel up to it.
- Hydrate before, after, and if you're playing a long set of tennis or other sport, during practice or while you're involved.
- Plan your meals, snacks and recovery foods so that you have a good source of fuel but not so much that you feel overly full.
- Even if you've been an active athlete, understand that you may feel some fatigue or lose your breath sooner than your teammates.
- If you feel cramping, fatigue or have diarrhea, that's your signal to rest or stop, and to consider a bit milder exercise as you work up to what you were doing.
- Take a moment, perhaps, to recognize how much you're able to do and to plan out an exercise schedule so you can continue.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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