Gym Chronicles: Treadmill Urgency

Working out with IBS can be challenging. I have found when my heart rate goes up, my symptoms ramp up. And when symptoms ramp up, I need a toilet nearby. Urgency is the biggest disrupter at the gym.

Needing to improve my stamina

Recently, I have been gearing up for a dance audition in New York City, and I am training hard to prepare. My stamina needs to improve for the audition, and one of the modules of my training is a high-intensity, fast-paced, inclined walk.

My IBS kicks in during intensive exercise

The problem is that I have yet to complete the total workout, and as I am about less than halfway into the session, my bowels get agitated. I use the word agitated because I actually believe they are getting agitated during this specific exercise.

The rest of my routine consists of weight training, and each week, I increase the weights. What I am trying to convey here is that the weight training is not light but rigorous. Yet, my bowels are totally calm. In addition to weight training, I am taking dance classes. Again, in these classes, where I am moving my entire body, my bowels are calm.

It is in the act of this high-intensity inclined walk on the treadmill that minutes in, my intestines get disturbed. I feel the urgency kick in. I try with all my might to ignore the feeling, to focus on breath, to will away the urge. But I always end up pressing the big red stop button of the treadmill, grabbing my things, and fast-walking to the washroom.

Trying to push through

Because I am stubborn and don’t like to take no for an answer, I continue to do the treadmill to try and train this out of me. I have increased my time walking on the treadmill which is nice, but nonetheless, I have yet to complete the entirety of my desired time walking.

With IBS, we have to be careful with high-intensity workouts. Low-intensity workouts like pilates or yoga are preferred for anyone with IBS. However, in my case, stamina needs to be trained in some manner, and walking is better than running for me.

Doing what I can or find another exercise

So, in lieu of my situation, I suppose my best option is to simply do what I can, but if there is no improvement, a different stamina-building exercise will need to be tried. Swimming is a great stamina builder, and it is low-impact. This can certainly become an option, and I have access to a pool. Cycling and rowing are also options.

Most importantly, I am trying to convey that IBS doesn’t have to kill your goals and dreams. You can find ways to live your life and even train at a high level by being flexible and creative. Use the internet to research different training options. Try out new exercises. Or even stick to what you are doing and give it time. Perhaps you will improve, perhaps you won’t. But the trying is what matters.

How about you? Can you manage high-intensity workouts with IBS? Do you have any tips you can share?

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