Do you ever see those people jogging at 6am on a rainy weekday morning and think to yourself; what is wrong with some people?! Obviously, not everyone is a fitness freak. For some, daily physical activity comes easily and they are able to stay active several times a week without even needing to think about it. But for others, the act of putting on running shoes is itself a major hurdle (running pun intended).

When you’re living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), those individual hurdles can collectively become a seemingly un-scalable mountain. But when you’re living with IBD, weight management, fitness levels and general wellbeing are all crucial to maintaining a healthy baseline. So for the IBD, non-gym junkie crowd, here are our recommendations for staying active, even when you don’t feel like it. Remember, anytime you’re thinking of making a change to your lifestyle, it’s always best if you consult with your doctor first.

Become a morning person

We know, we know – easier said than done. But one of the main issues people have with exercising is that they don’t have any energy left at the end of a hard day’s work. So if your day job is going to leave you breathless at 5:30pm, consider getting up just 45 minutes earlier. That small window gives you the opportunity to fit in a quick spin class, run around the block, or a 30 minute Pilates session before the email deluge or school run has you on the back foot. That way, by the time you finish work, you can simply concentrate on getting home, getting comfortable and recharging your body and mind for the next day. As a bonus, many people find that a morning workout gives them an energy boost, improving their mood and ability to concentrate throughout the day.

Find your ideal exercise

It’s simple, if you enjoy something it no longer feels like a chore. Exercise preferences are a very individual thing. Some love sweating it out under the bright lights and loud music of their local gym, whilst others crave the peace and quiet of a natural swimming pool. So if you’re not loving your current routine (or lack thereof), don’t be afraid to try new things. Team sports, classes, yoga on the living room floor – once you’ve found your perfect exercise it can become something you look forward to. When exercise transforms into something fun, your routine will cease to be something that’s always weighing on your mind.

Find a way to ‘cheat’ exercise into your schedule

And by ‘cheat’ what we really mean is to work exercise into your life in a way that doesn’t actually feel like, you know, exercise. Walking is good for you, yet we are constantly finding ways to avoid it: driving on short trips to the corner store, taking the elevator, catching the bus at the nearest stop. Instead of taking the quickest way, think about ways you can add a bit of extra walking time into your existing routine. Those steps add up, and a few small changes may find you increasing your walk time measurably. Pedometers are a small and inexpensive way to measure your daily kilometres travelled, allowing you to track distances, set benchmarks and generally help you slowly and steadily increase your fitness level.
So whilst you may never have described yourself as ‘sporty’, simply by changing the way you approach exercise it’s totally possible to reap all the benefits of an active lifestyle, without actually feeling like you’re chained to the treadmill.

Date: 22/09/2014 IRIS number AU-REM0328

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