Skip to content

    Ulcerative Colitis Health Center

    Font Size

    6 Benefits of Exercise for Ulcerative Colitis

    Everybody needs exercise to stay healthy. When you have ulcerative colitis, exercise can help you feel better and prevent related problems.

    Below are six reasons why exercise is good for someone with UC, along with suggestions for the kinds of activities to do. Your doctor can help you decide which and how much exercise is best for you.

    Recommended Related to Ulcerative Colitis

    Microscopic Colitis

    Microscopic colitis is a type of inflammation of the colon, or large intestine, that can cause watery diarrhea and cramping. While it can be painful and unpleasant, in most cases it's much less severe than other types of inflammatory bowel disease. It's called microscopic because the inflammation is too small to see with the naked eye. The only way your doctor can diagnose it is to take a sample of tissue and check it under a microscope. There are two types of microscopic colitis: Collagenous...

    Read the Microscopic Colitis article > >

    1. Strengthen Your Bones

    Because you have ulcerative colitis, your bones might not be as strong as they should be. Thirty percent to 60% of people with inflammatory bowel disease (including UC and Crohn's disease) have low bone density, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

    This could be because of the disease itself. Proteins called cytokines that are part of your body's inflammatory response may change how your body breaks down old bone and creates new bone.

    Corticosteroids, used to treat UC, also raise your chance of developing osteoporosis.

    Whatever the reason, you can do something about it. Because bone, like muscle, is living tissue that gets stronger with exercise, physical activity can help fight thinning bones.

    Best Exercise: Weight-bearing exercise -- the kind that makes your body work against gravity -- strengthens bones. That includes using weights as well as walking, climbing stairs, and even dancing, because your body counts as weight.

    2. Keep Your Muscles and Joints Working

    As many as 1 of every 4 people with inflammatory bowel disease has inflammation in their joints, too. Inflammation, as well as taking corticosteroids and poor nutrition, can lead to weaker muscles, which puts more strain on your joints.

    Exercise can help both problems. Regular exercise makes muscles stronger, and it helps joints move more easily.

    Best Exercise: The weight-bearing exercises that help your bones also help your muscles and joints. Aerobic or cardio exercise that gets your heart beating faster, such as fast walking, builds muscles and strengthens joints, too. If pain makes it tough, try low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling.

    Stretching should also be part of your exercise routine to help keep your muscles and joints flexible.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    basket of vegetables
    IBD Overview Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Managing Flares
    what is ibs

    Supplements UC
    Ulcerative Colitis Health Check
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet Yogurt

    Ulcerative Colitis Surgery
    Ulcerative Colitis Medications
    Exercising When You Have A GI Disorder
    Picture Of The Intestines
    Image Collection