- Super User
Cycling / Mountain Biking
Cycling is a great way of getting some exercise in. If you happen to also suffer with bad joints or arthritis it offers efficient, low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints and doesn't put too much pressure on knees, hips and backs. While providing a good cardiovascular workout it also strengthens leg and core muscles. The constant repetitive knee motion without the jarring impact helps to lubricate the joints and flushes out unwanted waste products from joints. So if your one of the many crohn's or colitis patients that suffers with bad joints then cycling is definitely something to consider.
No matter your experience level a good helmet is essential as there is always the possibility of a crash or tumble and you need to reduce the risk of a serious head injury. I would also recommend you incorporate some upper body work and not solely rely on cycling for your total exercise as light cycling while seated is relatively non-weight bearing and doesn't offer a lot in the way of upper body strength or bone density. You could try adding weights or boxing to your exercise program.
Why its Crohns and Colitis Friendly.
Its easy on the joints.
You can bring a change of clothes or other essentials. Just throw a small bag on your back and your all set to go.
Its flexible. Unlike a gym class you don't have to be there at a certain time. If you are feeling tired or just not feeling right you can put it off for a few hours and go whenever suits you best.
You can plan your route around public toilets or friendly bars and restaurants so you don't get caught short.
1. Start of slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your cycles.
2. If you have bad joints and struggle mounting and dismounting your bike think about a unisex frame rather than a high frame bike.
3. If your up to it consider a mountain bike and head off road. You will get more of a cardiovascular workout and the views can be spectacular. Be aware it is harder on the joints compared to recreational biking on roads and footpaths
Consult your doctor before starting this or any other exercise program
Please use a helmet and if you are cycling in the evening make sure you have lights and a high vis top.
Always tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you back especially if you plan on cycling a long distance or are mountain biking off road.
Wearing earphones and listening to music while riding is one of those topics that divides the cycling community but if you decide you need to listen to music please pay extra attention to cars, pedestrians, other cyclists and any other hazards you may meet
- Super User
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.