Top 4 Best Exercises For IBS
Updated: May 5
Exercising with IBS can be really hard. Who wants to go out for a run when feeling tired and bloated? Who wants to go to the gym when feeling nauseous? Right, nobody.
It is, however, very important to find some form of exercise we can do while not feeling 100%, which might even make us feel better. Having had IBS symptoms for many years, I used to struggle to find exercises that help IBS. Through lots of trial and error, I have found four exercises that are not only okay while feeling a little off due to IBS, but those four actually make me feel a lot better.
Movement boosts our metabolism and our digestion, which is especially good for people who struggle with IBS. Exercise strengthens our immune system and helps our body to reduce stress. And guess what - that’s exactly what we need.
The most important thing is that we choose some type of exercise that doesn’t put more stress on our body, like high-performance sports.
Low-intensity exercise for a happy gut
You might have heard of runner’s diarrhoea before, which only proves the point that high-intensity cardio might not be the best choice when you are dealing with IBS.
So if you are going to the gym or racing around on your road bike for hours, try to slow down a little and find some calmer types of movement. Trust me, your gut will thank you for it.
Yoga can calm down our nervous system. Not only that - it can even activate our parasympathetic nervous system which is crucial for digestion.
If you haven’t tried yoga before or if you’re just starting out, don’t try to push your body into any advanced yoga poses. our body and mind won’t be able to relax and wind down.
Here is the best thing: yoga can help IBS through breathing techniques. While you follow your breath and put all your attention on breathing in and out, your mind learns to relax even though your tummy might hurt. This way, you can manage the intensity of the pain you feel on your own.
Walking in nature has an incredibly calming effect on our body and mind. Whenever I feel super stressed, I go for a walk in the forest and I feel so much better afterwards.
In Japan, it’s even prescribed by doctors and called ’shinrin yoku’ (forest bathing). The trees are extremely healing with their green colour and the terpenes they emit. Lowering blood pressure, pulse and cortisol, ‘forest bathing’ is calming for the body and mind.
This is another great way to get some movement that is not too strenuous on your whole body. Swimming is joint-friendly and all you need is a swimsuit and you’re good to go.
Provided you have access, you can even enjoy this form of exercise all year round: a heated pool in winter and a lake or an ocean swim on a hot summer day. Does it get any better than that?
Okay, let’s get things straight: there are different types of cyclists, including road racers, mountain bikers and then, there’s your casual cyclist. Of all options, you should go for the last one. Nothing too crazy or fast, just the relaxed way of riding a bike. Take it to go to work, visit friends, go grocery shopping or even for your weekend trip.
A little movement here and there adds up over time and you will notice how much of a difference it makes in your health.
You see, the right kind of exercise is very important for a happy and healthy gut. So next time you feel like moving your body, try going for a walk in a nearby green area, get a membership to a local swimming pool, ride your bike to work or open up Zemedy on your phone for some gentle yoga at home.