Exercise with Crohns and Colitis

Ease yourself in.

Thinking of getting back into the grove again and getting back to some sort of normality? Here are my top tips on what considerations you should take into account when you have decided to get back to exercise. If you haven't exercised in a while its important that you don't jump in with two feet and overexert yourself. Some people are so frustrated with their weight gain and weight loss struggles that they jump back into an exercise regime like a regular person and end up making themselves sick again. Depending on the severity of your crohns or colitis there are a few things we need to consider before starting an exercise program.

1. Probably obvious but you should consult your doctor before you start any exercise program.

2. Most IBD patients also have other issues to contend with be it joint issues, fatigue or chronic arthritis. In my own case I have ankylosing spondylitis, severe right hip osteoarthritis with two ruptured discs in my back along with my crohn's disease to factor in. That's not even including the effects of the medication. For me to jump back into a regular exercise schedule is just asking for trouble. Putting your body under a lot of stress so quickly will be a shock to the system and and your IBD will simply start flaring up again.

3. Your meds will already have you at a disadvantage to regular people especially if you are taking immunosuppressants and biologics or sometimes both.  Immunosuppressants are forms of chemotherapy they are going to take a toll on your body.

4. If you decide to exercise at home or go to the gym make sure you warm up correctly. With the lack of activity you are quite likely to cause yourself an injury without a proper workout beforehand. You will find plenty of warm up vids on youtube if you don't have a personal trainer to show you. If there is a demand for it  I will make some videos and upload them here. 

N:B if you have a personal trainer or instructor make sure you explain your illness or limitations before you start training. You don't have to go into any gory details if you don't feel comfortable talking about your crohn's but you should explain any limitations or concerns you may have.

5. To start there is no need to go to the gym. In regards to exercise there is more than one way to skin a cat. To start a 20 minute brisk walk 3-4 days a week is the perfect way to break yourself in. For the first few weeks start of nice and slow and at your own pace. As you adjust you can up the intensity of the walk slightly. You could then think about transitioning into maybe a light run. If you have joint issues you could try a bike rather than running or maybe take up swimming.

6. Watch what you eat. It doesn't matter what exercise you do if you are not eating correctly the weight loss and other benefits will be marginal. You can't out train a bad diet.