How Exercise Can Help IBS

Can Exercise Really Help IBS Sufferers?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects more people than you know. Although some people may have an upset stomach every now and then, many individuals have constant pains and bloating after eating certain foods. These symptoms occur due to the sufferer’s inefficient bowel movements. Sometimes, the colon moves too fast and doesn’t absorb enough fluid while other times it doesn’t move fast enough causing it to absorb too much fluid. In both instances, the sufferer is left with either diarrhea (fast movements) or constipation (slow movements) symptoms. To reduce these symptoms and promote healthier bowel movements, regulare moderate exercise is important.

Here are a few reasons why sweating it out can help reduce IBS symptoms in sufferers

Exercise Helps IBS

Exercise Helps IBS

Reduces Stress:

IBS symptoms tend to worsen when the sufferer is tense or stressed out. The nerves in the colon become more tense while in a stressed environment and in turn creates abdominal pain. This tension in the nerves creates slower bowel movements and constipation in the sufferer. Exercise, such as walking or cycling, can help release tension as the endorphins are released in the brain. As the tension and stress is released, the nerves in the colon are more flexible and can work more efficiently.

Increases Oxygen Intake:

A lot of exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, incorporate breathing exercises into their routine. The fact that you’re taking deep abdominal breaths increases the amount of oxygen you intake, which in turn releases tension. As you move further into these types of classes, your body will also open itself up to more oxygen and release tension found in the colon area.

Increases Blood Flow:

Sweating it out at the gym has more benefits for IBS sufferer than one would think. Of course, it releases tension and reduces stress, which is very important. But it also promotes overall health in the body. The fact that the body is sweating releases so many toxins in your body that can create discomfort in the colon. The less toxic product IBS sufferers have in that area, the healthier they will be. Cardio exercises can help promote healthier bowel movements by increasing the heart rate and in turn boosting the blood flow throughout your body. Since digestion needs blood to function properly, the right cardio and strength exercises can help bring more blood into the problematic area. Which is why most people will feel their digestive systems working extra while their running, for example, as the blood is pumped in the stomach area to help maintain a straight posture. Abdominal exercises are also a great way to reduce the IBS symptoms as the blood flows to the muscles in the abdominals to improve their capacity.

Since I have started a daily routine of an hour of power walking every day, I have found my stress level has decreased, as well as my overall well being.

I really want to start yoga twice a week, I just need to fit it in my schedule somehow. I will let you know how it goes.

Until then take care.


About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

10 comments on “How Exercise Can Help IBS

  1. I would say if you’re up for it, exercise would do more good than harm. 🙂 I know it might be hard to get a routine going, but anything that lowers stress will help alleviate your IBS. To any struggling with routines, I was thinking of hanging a skipping rope near the front door to remind me to use it. I wonder if that’ll work

    • Hi Jessica, sure why not hanging the rope near the door…anything that works for you and get you to exercise that is great. I love walking and cycling, I’m not the best with going to the gym, but I’d love to start yoga eventually. Happy exercise 😀

    • Yes, there are always reasons to exercise and I guess help IBS symptoms is definitely a good one!

  2. My mother is one of those who suffers very often from IBS, to the point where
    she will need to be close to bathroom and all times just in case. She recently
    started going to the gym every day without fail, which I’m very proud of her
    for, and it definitely seems to be helping. She tends to get Very stressed out
    so going to the gym helps in other ways too.

    • Hi Corrine, well done to your mum for trying to improve her IBS symptoms. You should ask her to look into the low FODMAP diet too, it may help her even more.

  3. Still no yoga in my agenda, but today I went for a 90 minutes ride along the coast. It was beautiful and relaxing. I’ve enjoyed it very much.

  4. Here is my problem…I have a hard time exercising!! I will have to admit though, when I was walking the dogs daily I didn’t have the constipation (this is my issue) than when I go a couple of weeks without that simple exercise of walking the dogs. I never put two and two together to realize that walking the dogs was the reason I was having less pains and bloating.

    Now that Fall is coming into play I will be walking more, it gets so darn hot here in Texas. Keep us updated on how your yoga is going and I will touch base on my walking. Another great informational article and one I will visit again to refresh myself to get me going.

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