7 Things You Only Know If You Exercise With IBS Or IBD
Working out is hard at the best of times, but it's another level when you have an irritable bowel condition.
Getting your arse to the gym literally embodies a whole new meaning when you have IBS or IBD (irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease). Whilst gut problems aren’t the most glam thing to talk about, they have a massive impact on a workout.
Stomach cramps, bloating and nausea are just some of the daily symptoms someone with IBS or IBS might suffer with. And let’s be honest, none of these are conducive to a grilling, sweat-inducing and body-burning exercise session.
Nevertheless, with Olympians like Sir Steve Redgrave casually winning all the gold medals with Ulcerative Colitis, it is obviously still possible. But how does it actually feel?
First up, feel the burn with these tricep moves!
1. You have to push through the pain
The mental barrier is the biggest obstacle. When you’ve had a troubled night with your stomach or experiencing a day of bad symptoms, the last thing you want to do is exercise. So you just have to try and remember the great feeling after, build up the mental strength and push on through. It is usually totally worth it – unless it’s a very bad day in which case the session is quickly aborted and lying horizontal is preferable.
2. Mix up the exercises
Everyday is different, literally. So mixing it up is key. Some days it’s cardio; some days a bit of HIIT, some days a swim and some days all that is possible is some gentle yoga. Essentially, letting the pace be set by how you feel is key. It’s not worth pushing because pulled stomach muscles on top of cramps are NOT the one.
3. Sit ups REALLY hurt
Like, really really hurt. Still having nightmares of the sit-up beep test at school (what levels of hell is that?). Especially if you’ve had abdominal surgery, any sort of core work can lead to all sorts of agony. Seeking expert advice is very much advised before embarking on core exercises.
4. Location of the bathroom is absolutely key
Exercise gets your digestion REALLY going. Without being too explicit, it can bring on rather sudden sensations. Working out near a bathroom is extremely preferable. Or at least knowing where the nearest one is! It isn’t glam, but it is reality (unfortunately).
5. A personal cheerleader is a great asset
For all the previous reasons, it can be extremely beneficial to have someone encouraging you. A personal cheerleader, if you will. In the form of a PT, friend, partner, family member, dog – literally anyone who can keep you going even though you’re tired/feel sick/in pain. The person who can say – ‘go on, you can do a few more mins!’ But also the person who can say ‘actually no, you are in no fit state to exercise today’ and not make you feel bad.
6. Post-exercise endorphins are magnified x 1000
Smashing a session suddenly feels like THE biggest achievement. Imagine skipping through the streets with all the endorphins pumping through your body and thinking ‘WHAT A GREAT TIME TO BE ALIVE!’ There is nothing quite like that feeling. What a stress reliever.
7. But okay now I really need a snooze
Until the crash comes seven hours later and you have the best sleep of your life. Working out is tiring, for real.
Words by Bryony Hopkins