How I Exercise with IBS
Last updated: July 2023
Working out with IBS can be challenging. It is either the urgency that can cause major anxiety, or severe constipation and bloat that makes moving your body horribly uncomfortable. Dealing with such symptoms can often times deter you from working out and rightfully so.
But the benefits of working out are so grand that it is important to do all you can in order to get your body moving. Exercise is essential to good health. So here are some tips I have compiled over the years to help get you moving again.
Low impact exercise
At least for me, when I generally think of exercise I think about intense cardio or weight lifting—lots of sweating and grunting. But that never has to be the case. Low impact workouts like yoga, Pilates, light weight lifting, stretching, and walking are just as effective. And I highly recommend these types of workouts for anyone with IBS.
When our bowels are compromised, intense exercise and stress on the body can awaken symptoms. I know for me, when I was first diagnosed with IBS and figuring out how to adjust, it was so frustrating whenever I would try to go for a run. I couldn’t run for more than five minutes without feeling intense urgency to use the restroom.
Needless to say, I started to explore other ways of working out and Pilates and yoga ended up being my go-to options. I also love to do light weight lifting and follow trainers for free on YouTube.
Wear a feminine pad
Another tip I’d like to share is to wear a feminine pad when exercising. If you struggle with leakage or urgency and don’t know how you would even be able to handle wearing workout gear without issue, wearing a feminine pad is the best option. This offers a layer of protection and gives you peace of mind. If there is an issue, instead of soiling your clothes, you have time to make it to the washroom.
Workout at home
Working out from home is the best option for anyone with IBS and it is now easier than ever. YouTube is an amazing resource for free workout videos you can do at home without any equipment. Also, working out in your home is familiar and you don’t have to deal with the anxiety of being in a public place and having to use a public restroom. Pause your video at any time, use your own restroom and resume your workout without dealing with embarrassment. It’s truly the best way to do it.
Eat safe foods before
Another tip I’d like to share, it to make sure you eat safe foods before your workout. You don’t want to aggravate your digestion and either try a new food or cheat with a trigger food right before working out. Make sure your bowels are as calm as they can be so that you can optimize working out with the least amount of bathroom breaks.
Do sitting exercises
You can search on YouTube for sitting exercises or chair exercises. It is amazing the exercises you can do all while sitting down. So if you are struggling with bad IBS symptoms, this is a great option for you.
Stretching is always a good idea
Lastly, don’t forget the power of stretching. Stretching lengthens and tones muscles. So even if you can’t manage a low impact exercise at the moment, you can still stretch. Again, use YouTube as your resource. Search stretch videos and follow along.
How about you? Are you able to exercise with your IBS? Or do you struggle to move your body when dealing with symptoms? Share below, we love to hear from you.
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