Staying active with Crohn's disease
Having Crohn's disease shouldn't stop you from being physically active. When done properly, exercise won't worsen your symptoms. In fact, regular exercise may:
- Ease the side effects of medications typically used to treat Crohn's disease, such as nausea, headaches and vomiting.
- Help you cope with emotions associated with Crohn's disease that can negatively impact your quality of life, such as anxiety and depression.
Exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety, increase overall strength, improve bone health, boost the immune system and minimize digestive symptoms.
Choosing exercises that are best for you
The following exercises may be recommended if you have Crohn's disease. But talk with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity. He or she can help you determine which exercises are best suited to your situation and abilities.
Aug. 13, 2014
- Resistance training. Resistance training can help strengthen your muscles and bones, which can be weakened by Crohn's disease. Use elastic bands or free weights and focus on the major muscle groups in your legs and torso. Be sure to take breaks between sets of exercises.
- Aerobic exercise. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, running, swimming and cycling. Depending on your situation, certain activities may be too strenuous and could trigger Crohn's disease symptoms. If so, change or limit these activities to meet your needs.
See more In-depth
- Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis: A guide for parents. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/guide-for-parents.html. Accessed July 2, 2014.
- Bilski J, et al. The role of physical exercise in inflammatory bowel disease. BioMed Research International. 2014;2014:429031.
- Ng V, et al. Exercise and Crohn's disease: Speculations on potential benefits. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2006;20:657.
- Health tips. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. http://online.ccfa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=health_tips_exercise. Accessed July 2, 2014.
- Narula N, et al. Exercise and inflammatory bowel disease. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2008;22:497.
- Perez CA. Prescription of physical exercise in Crohn's disease. Journal of Crohn's & Colitis. 2009;3:225.
- Helping prevent IBD flares. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America: I'll Be Determined. http://www.ibdetermined.org/ibd-information/ibd-quality-of-life/ibd-helping-prevent-ibd-flares.aspx. Accessed July 2, 2014.