If you regularly experience irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, you’ve probably already tried tweaking your diet or taking supplements to heal your gut. While nutrition and supplements a great start, did you know that regular exercise can also relieve IBD symptoms?
How Exercise Helps Bowel Disorders
Functional medicine doctors have long understood the benefits of regular exercise on overall health. While many people start exercising to improve their heart health or lose weight, recent studies suggest that regular exercise also promotes gut healing. In fact, study participants saw improvement after just six weeks of exercise.
According to the findings, exercise can increase both the quantity and diversity of healthy gut bacteria. A healthy gut with diverse bacteria can better protect against inflammation and reduce symptoms like bloating and constipation. Exercise also reduces stress, which is always a good goal for people with bowel disorders.
You don’t have to train for a marathon or lift heavy weights to heal your gut. In fact, it’s probably best to find exercises that you can do consistently that don’t add additional stress to your body.
If you’re wondering where to start, here are a few ideas for stress-relieving exercises:
- Walking or Hiking: Walking is a great place to start if you’re new to fitness. It’s a chance to get out in nature while also improving your overall health.
- Yoga: There are yoga classes for every level, so you can find a class that suits your needs. Many yoga classes also incorporate breathing exercises and meditation which can both reduce stress.
- Corrective Exercise: By working with a functional medicine or corrective exercise specialist, you can develop a routine of stretching and strength training that keeps your body balanced and healthy.
Of course, if you’re a weekend warrior who enjoys playing sports or cycling, feel free to include those hobbies as well. Researchers who ran the study made one final important observation: when study participants returned to their sedentary lifestyles, their gut bacteria returned to normal levels. So whatever exercise you choose, make sure it’s a plan that you can stick to long term.
If you’re struggling to develop a healthy habit, you don’t have to do it alone. At Pollack Wellness Institute, we can offer lifestyle advice and help you customize a program that will help you reduce stress and improve your IBD symptoms.
Our team is ready to learn about your individual needs so that we can get to the root of your symptoms. Schedule an appointment today and see how a happy, healthy gut can greatly improve your overall wellbeing!