7 Tips for Exercise Success With a GI Disorder
Stick With It!
Although it can be tempting to throw in the towel and quit exercising if you have these conditions, you’re better off staying in the game.
“Exercise is actually very good for people with GI disorders, for a variety of reasons,” Ganjhu says.
For instance, losing extra weight, especially from around your belly, may lessen symptoms. Plus, you get endorphins, feel-good chemicals that your body makes. It also helps the healing process and curbs stress, which is often a trigger for symptoms.
To make sure your GI problems don’t get in the way of your fitness plan, follow these simple steps.
1. Speak up. “The first step is to be unafraid of opening up to others when it comes to your condition and how badly you are suffering from it,” says Evan Wood, 21, a New York University student with Crohn’s who has run three marathons and eight half marathons. “Ask for help.” Talk to your doctor and find other active people who have the same condition.
2. Stay hydrated. Crohn’s and UC raise your risk of being dehydrated and not having enough iron (a condition called anemia). If you’re exhausted, you might need to take a day off exercise. If you’re bleeding because of your condition, cut back on activity and tell your doctor.
3. Choose your workout wisely. You may need to change your plan for the day, depending on how you feel.
You can probably handle gentler types of exercise when your UC or Crohn’s is active, but skip harder workouts until your digestive system calms down, Benkov says.
“I wouldn’t recommend something like starting an intense regimen like CrossFit right after your diagnosis until your symptoms are controlled,” Ganjhu says.
Lower-impact options like Pilates, yoga, tai chi, and barre classes are a good way to go. Take it easy during movements that squeeze or put pressure on your belly, since those may irritate a GI disorder, Ganjhu says.
4. 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, map out your routine ahead of time, and try to make sure there are restrooms along it, Benkov suggests.