Exercise for IBS
Last updated: June 2018
Depending on your age, weight, gender and about a thousand other factors, the exercise part of your self-care routine can look very different. I think in today’s body obsessed culture, we all have a very particular idea of what our exercise routine SHOULD look like. Our exercise routine doesn’t need to be ideal or impressive. What matters is the exercise itself and the fact that you are making an effort to do SOMETHING. Also important is whether or not it is actually helpful to you.
Physical Capabilities Diminished By Age, Inactivity and IBS
I realized when I was 35 years old that my body just wouldn’t do certain things that it used to. I was a three sport athlete in high school and continued to play soccer and softball well into my twenties. Then I had children. Well, the sports and trips to the gym became scarce and well, I got heavy - very, very heavy. Fast forward a few years and not only are my physical capabilities diminished by age and inactivity, but now I’m struggling with IBS as well. Walking in to the gym to pump some iron doesn’t exactly seem like the thing I want to do right now. It doesn’t have to be. Walking in the park is exercise, walking your dog is exercise, cleaning can be exercise and a plethora of other physical activities that don’t SEEM like exercise.
Before I actually joined a gym, which being honest, I haven’t been to in quite some time, I started slowly, working out at home. I had no equipment, short of a pull up bar in the doorway, a jump rope and a yoga mat. So my exercise was pushups, pull ups (which much to my despair, I could only do two pullups when I started), planks for stomach, some crunches and a half an hour of yoga. Man, I hurt. But I will say, after six months, I was in better shape than I ever was after lifting weights in a gym. I would also hike and walk to round out the routine. Now…this is what was best for me at THAT TIME. Right now, it is ok that the best exercise for me is to simply get outside and walk. Because, in the present moment, that’s all I am able to do. I am ok with that and getting ok with your limitations, whatever they might be, is absolutely crucial.
Tips On How To Exercise When IBS Makes It Difficult To Exercise
It is ok to have goals and to want to be assertive in your management of IBS. Of course, everything you read about self-care includes at least something about the importance of exercise and diet. Like I’ve said in previous articles, when I get a flare up, I have almost no energy. I’m sure that many of you experience the same thing and worse. The truly bad spots do not last forever, though. They may come again at some point, but in the meantime, make some time to ride a bike, take a hike, walk the mall, walk with the baby carriage, clean the house…ACTIVITY, man. So, instead of shaming yourself that you haven’t been to the gym or on the treadmill or run a marathon in a while, be ok with what you can do and then congratulate yourself for doing it, whatever it may be.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?