Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make you feel like your whole life is restricted. But in reality, that’s far from the case.
Why Is Exercise Good for IBS?
Of course, healthy lifestyle choices are important for everyone. A healthy diet and regular physical exercise help keep your body strong and vigorous for your whole life.
Of course, for those of us with IBS, self-care is even more important. Exercise is not only good for mind and body—it can even help with symptoms.
Exercise is beneficial for two main reasons:
1. It reduces stress. Stress can trigger IBS, and so soothing your stress levels is a key part of IBS management. The rush of endorphins released from exercising helps ease your muscles and soothe your mind.
2. It improves fitness and stamina. A recent study uncovered that people who were physically fit and ate a healthy diet had fewer gastrointestinal problems. Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help you combat symptoms and reduce flare-ups.
You don’t need to run a marathon to feel the benefits, either. Gentle exertion—just enough to get your heart rate elevated and your blood pumping—should be plenty. Take it slow at first and see what works for your body.
What Kind of Exercises Are Best for IBS?
Of course, you should consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Everybody is different, and you may have unique needs your doctor can advise you about.
That being said, many people with IBS enjoy these low-impact exercises:
Yoga is a wonderful, non-jarring activity. Its soothing nature and emphasis on deep breathing and slow movement is perfect for those of us with IBS. Yoga is also a known stress reliever, helping to relax muscles and minds too.
Walking is also great for gentle exercise. A casual stroll is a great way to get a little exercise without committing too much. But this simple activity can still help hugely: you’ll stretch out tight muscles and get your blood pumping. Slow walks in parks, hiking trails, or around your neighborhood can provide all of the benefits of light exercise.
And don’t let bad weather get in your way! Walk around a local shopping mall or a museum. Walks can be enjoyable as well as healthy.
Tips for Exercising with IBS
It’s important to keep in mind that each of our bodies have individual needs. You’ll get to know yours better through exercise.
Respect your body’s needs. If an activity doesn’t feel right or isn’t helping, try something else. It might take some experimentation to find the correct exercise and pace. That’s completely okay and normal. Be patient with yourself in this new chapter of life!
Living with a chronic health problem can make life more challenging, it’s true. But nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Light exercise is a great way to lower your stress levels, soothe your symptoms, and improve your quality of life.