Exercise your body and mind

It isn’t always easy to keep active when you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Fatigue, pain, and worries about having an ‘accident’ can all stand in your way. Although, there are lots of benefits to keeping active. Regular activity can help improve your overall health, reduce inflammation, and keep your bones strong. Getting active is also great for stress relief.

Don’t sweat it

Keeping active doesn’t always mean ‘exercise’. Exercise can bring about unpleasant images of getting puffed, sweaty and sore. It isn’t really motivating! So, let’s use the word activity instead. Activity can mean different things to different people, but the idea is to do something we really enjoy. Sometimes we discover that there are things we are already doing in daily life that count as ‘activity’. What’s more, staying active also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors – which is great for your mental health.

A weight off your shoulders

Weight-bearing activity is great for IBD. This is because weight-bearing activity is great for your bones. Having IBD might affect your ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D (which are both important for bone health), and cause osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones) later in life. Some treatments such as steroids can also negatively affect your bones.

So, by staying active with weight-bearing activities, you can help your bones stay healthy and strong.1

What is a weight-bearing activity?

Weight-bearing activities are where your bones are supporting the weight of your body. For example, walking, yoga and golf all include actions where your body weight is supported by your bones. Activities that are not weight-bearing include cycling and swimming. These will keep you physically fit, but you’re not using your bones to support your body – the bike and the water are doing the work.

Can exercise and socialising help to improve my mood?

Reference: 1. Ali T et al. Am J Med. 2009; 122: 599–604.