A woman in a dark area carries a gym bag as she walks toward a flight of stairs with a sunset in the distance.

4 Tips for Working Out with IBS

Lately, I have been on an exercise kick. I never was able to work out due to intense IBS symptoms—it was virtually impossible. I found that the moment I started to move my body, I immediately felt an urge to run to the bathroom. It was uncomfortable and annoying. The most I could do was stretch at home or do a simple yoga class on YouTube. And even still, sometimes, I would find myself pausing the video for a bathroom break.

Making lifestyle changes

Thankfully, things started to change for me in the past year. I really buckled down with diet and lifestyle change. Mostly, when I changed my diet, I found that my IBS symptoms greatly dissipated, so I explored exercising again. For those who don’t know, I was a professional classical dancer, so not moving my body for years and years was depressing for me.

But as mentioned above, I finally was able to start getting back into working out more seriously once I tweaked my diet and lowered my stress levels. I now work out 5 days a week for about an hour. I wake up early in the morning, get dressed, and head to the gym. It is the best feeling to be able to do this, and I wanted to share to offer hope for those who think it can never happen with IBS. It absolutely can, but like everything else in life, it takes focused effort.

Tips for a bathroom free workout

And now that I am in a full swing of a workout routine, I thought I would share a couple of tips I do as precautions when I exercise. Let’s take a look:

1. Morning workouts, fasted

First, I’d like to share that my routine involves working out first thing in the morning. Simply put, if I don’t work out in the morning, my day finds a way of getting complicated and I rarely will find the time or energy to work out in the early evening. So every morning I wake up, brush my teeth, use the restroom, get dressed and head to the gym.

I don’t have breakfast for the simple fact that if I do, I would be dealing with urgency at the gym and that is a big no for me. I know working out fasted might not be how some would like to do it, but this is what works for me. If I start eating something, even a snack upon waking, during the middle of working I out I would need to use the restroom. Fasting ensures that urgency will be prevented.

2. Bring an emergency bag

I always bring a small bag that contains my emergency kit: wipes, feminine pads and extra underwear. This is in case I do have some sort of accident, I am prepared.

3. Stay hydrated

Keeping hydrated is so important to keep my stomach calm. I always have a water bottle on hand. I drink before, during and after working out.  This ensures that my stomach remains calm.

4. Workout with a partner

Lastly, I find that working out with a partner helps to keep your mind off of the what if’s of IBS symptoms. I work out with my boyfriend, who does not have IBS. Because he is calm and focused on exercising, it helps take my mind off of IBS symptoms. It helps me remain focused in the present moment and not have to deal with my mind wondering off and thinking about IBS symptoms. It has helped me a lot to workout with someone who doesn’t deal with my same symptoms.

Overall, these are just little tips I thought I would share, that help me get into a good exercise routine. Working out while fasted, having an emergency bag on hand, staying hydrated and being with a partner are all things that help me stay on track with working out.

How about you?  Are you able to work out despite your IBS symptoms? If you have any tips to add, comment below.  We love to hear from you.

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