Crohn’s disease belongs to a category of maladies known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes the digestive lining to be inflamed, resulting in various clinical presentations.
Patients with Crohn’s disease may experience mild to severe symptoms with periods of remission.
In this article, we will cover the benefits of physical activity for Crohn’s disease patients, as well as the specific exercises that you may consider.
Tops benefits of exercise for Crohn’s disease patients
Regular exercise is a fantastic tool to reduce the severity of Crohn’s disease and possibly go into remission. However, it is important to have realistic expectations to avoid disappointment.
To understand how exercise helps with Crohn’s disease, we need to look at this simple equation:
- Crohn’s disease – inflammatory process
- Exercise – anti-inflammatory properties
Exercise will release various hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine; it will also regulate the release of stress hormones (e.g. cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine).
As a result, patients will experience less stress, which is a well-documented risk factor for Crohn’s disease flareups.
Additionally, many scientific papers have identified the role of exercise in preventing and treating depression –a common complication of Crohn’s disease.
To top it all off, many patients with Crohn’s disease are predisposed to develop osteoporosis, which is a common disease that results in fragile bones and recurrent fractures.
Exercise has been shown to increase bone mineral density to counter this side effect.
4 exercises to improve your symptoms
I know what you’re thinking, “how can walking help with Crohn’s disease?”
The answer is simple!
Walking is a low-impact exercise that can reduce inflammation of the digestive tract via hormonal regulation.
According to a study published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, walking three times a week helped participants with their symptoms and improved their overall life quality.
Pushups are part of the resistance training routine and may increase bone mineral density to prevent osteoporosis.
There are several variations of this exercise; however, you should start with simple forms, especially if you’re a beginner.
Doing a few sets of abdominal crunches can be very beneficial for digestion.
Here’s how to perform this exercise:
- Lie down on your back
- Extend your arms in parallel to your body
- Bend your knees and bring the heels near the buttocks
- Bring your knees to the chest while stabilizing your upper body
- Repeat this exercise 12 times
Squats compose the perfect exercise since they involve the biggest muscles of the body (e.g. quadriceps).
Similar to pushups, squats will improve your hormonal regulation, which reduces the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is quite a hassle to deal with for both patients and physicians; however, you should keep in mind that it’s just an inflammatory process after all.
In other words, any activity that reduces stress and inflammation may be beneficial for Crohn’s disease.
Hopefully, you have a better idea about the importance of exercise in the management of this ailment.
However, if you still have any questions about Crohn’s disease or the exercises listed above, feel free to ask in the comment section below.