Do you look at people jogging at 6am and think they are from another planet?
Obviously, not everyone is a fitness fanatic. For some, daily physical activity comes easily. But for others, the act of putting on running shoes is itself a major hurdle (pun intended).
When you’re living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), individual hurdles caused by symptoms and fatigue can collectively become a seemingly un-scalable mountain. But weight management, fitness levels and general wellbeing are all crucial to maintaining a healthy baseline. So, for the non-gym junkie crowd, here are our recommendations for staying active with IBD, even when you don’t feel like it.
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. 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 have a YouTube yoga session. 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 is simple – if you enjoy something, it doesn’t feel like a chore. Some people 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.
If you’re not loving your current workout routine (or lack thereof), don’t be afraid to try new things. Try team sports, golf, Frizbee football or even Tai chi. Once you’ve found your perfect exercise it can become something you look forward to – which means that it is great for your mental health, too.
‘Cheat’ exercise into your lifestyle
And by ‘cheat’ what we really mean is to work exercise into your life in a way that doesn’t actually feel like exercise.
Walking is good for you, yet we drive to the corner store, take the elevator or catch the bus at the nearest stop. Instead of taking the quickest way, think about adding a bit of extra walking time into your life. Those steps add up, and a few small changes may find you increasing your walking time.
Fitness Apps on a smart phone or device can measure your daily kilometres travelled, allowing you to track distances, set benchmarks and generally help you slowly and steadily increase your fitness level. No smart device? No problem! Pedometers are widely available and are often inexpensive.
So, whilst you may never have described yourself as ‘sporty’, simply by changing the way you approach exercise can make a huge difference.
Anytime you’re thinking of making a change to your lifestyle, it is always best if you consult with your doctor first.