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7 Ways to work out if you have Crohn’s disease

Exercise can play an important role in easing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Here are seven activities to try.
It can be hard to exercise when you’re dealing with symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain. But for people with Crohn’s disease, it’s important to try to work out when you’re able. Research shows that regular exercise can help ease the symptoms of Crohn’s and prevent relapse. Case in point: A research review published in December 2017 in the journal Clinical Experimental Gastroenterology concluded that exercise may improve some of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and boost quality of life. A study published in May 2016 in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases was conducted on people who were in remission from Crohn’s. The study found that those who exercised more were less likely to experience a flare after six months than people who didn’t do as much physical activity. Still, there can be some limitations. If people are symptomatic and have active Crohn’s, they may want to stick to moderate- and low-impact exercise, says Jessica Philpott, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic. No matter what type of exercise you choose, it might be a good idea to avoid big, heavy meals in the hours before a workout and scout out the nearest bathroom in advance. Here are seven types of exercises to try. Just remember to talk with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.

1. Strength Training

People with Crohn’s disease can be more susceptible to a loss of bone strength and bone density, in part because they have difficulty absorbing vitamin D in their small intestines. Plus, people who use corticosteroids over a long period of time are also at risk for osteoporosis. That’s where strength training — which can help build up your bone density, according to the Mayo Clinic — comes in. If you’re a beginner, you might want to work with an exercise specialist, who can help set up a program that’s tailored to your needs.

2. Walking

Walking can be a particularly good low-impact exercise for people with Crohn’s disease. (Plus, it’s easy to get started, because all you need is a good pair of sneakers.) Low-intensity walking programs don’t appear to exacerbate the symptoms of Crohn’s, according to the 2018 research review.

3. Cycling

Posted on: July 28 2020

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