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

Make an Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan

Foods don’t cause UC, but some can trigger flares.As you avoid those, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need. It pays to know what foods you can turn to during a flare and which ones make you feel your best. How to keep it all straight? Make a diet plan so you can manage your condition more easily. 

Read the Make an Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan 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.

3. Recover From Surgery Faster

If you need to have surgery for ulcerative colitis, regular exercise may make your recovery easier. It strengthens your muscles, keeps your blood circulating to prevent blood clots, and helps keep your lungs clear.

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