Exercise is an essential part of looking after our bodies.
So why don’t we do enough? Busy lives with work and family mean that we forget our bodies. Plus with IBS we are already tired, and the sheer effort of doing regular exercise can seem just too much.
What If I told you that a 20-minute walk every day could ease some of your stomach cramps and constipation? Walking is known to stimulate bowel movements. And mild exercise in general can help your body release nervous tension and help relieve stress.
If you have been doing sport for years, that’s great. If like me you gave up through lack of energy and time, think again.
Anything you do will be an improvement
At first, starting a new routine can be difficult, and fitting it in with work and family life can be challenging. But you need to start. Anything you do will help your body – and your symptoms.
Start small. I started by doing just 2 minutes on an exercise bike a couple of times a week, and gradually built that up to 10 minutes a day.
Start by thinking when you can exercise. Is it best for you before work, at lunchtime, or when you get home? On evenings, or weekends?
Get outside when you can!
Don’t overdo it!
Beware of doing too much exercise for IBS. Strenuous exercise can make your symptoms worse. If you have IBS-C, exercise can put additional strain on your digestion and on your body in general.
Gentle exercise like walking, non-competitive swimming or 10 minutes gentle exercise on an exercise bike is very beneficial, while more intense exercise can overload your body systems
When you do exercise is important
Doing sport in the evening can be so stimulating that it affects your sleep, making you even more tired the next day. Also, if you are rushing around trying to get to the gym, the chances are you will stress your body, and then push it to perform, Just watch that IBS flare up…
I wanted to take up badminton again. So I rushed in from work at 6.30 pm, got dinner for the family, gulped it down and rushed off to badminton at 8pm. I would come home at 10 pm feeling ill. The way I was approaching a “healthy lifestyle” was actually doing me a huge disservice. I had not taken enough time to eat properly, and gave my body very little time to digest before running and leaping around. No wonder my game suffered, I had problems digesting – and I couldn’t get to sleep afterwards.
Just do it
As well as releasing stress in the body, exercise makes your body release serotonin, the happiness hormone.
If you also suffer from diarrhea then a workout at home can also be easier to manage.
Whatever it is, find what is possible for you and make it gentle and automatic. Your body will thank you for it.