Don’t Let IBS Interrupt Your Fitness Goals

woman laying on sofa holding stomachThere’s no better time to pay attention to your fitness than right now. But, if you’re struggling with a chronic disease like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re probably thinking whether it’s even possible to achieve your fitness goals.

The short answer is, of course you can! In fact, incorporating a healthy diet and physical activity in your daily routine can provide amazing results in helping reduce symptoms of IBS. Moreover, you’re also improving your overall health throughout the process.

So, if you’re ready to achieve your fitness goals, read on to learn everything about IBS and which type of exercises you should do to improve its symptoms.

What Is IBS

From the term itself, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal condition that affects your large intestine. It’s a chronic disease that negatively impacts the frequency and form of your bowel movements. If you think you have IBS, the most common symptoms you may notice include: pain and cramps in the lower abdomen, diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, food intolerance, and fatigue.

Common Symptoms Of IBS

Below is a quick discussion on each symptom:

Pain And Cramping

Experiencing cramps in the lower abdomen is one of the most common symptoms of IBS. The pain typically develops after food consumption and then alleviates after defecating. Improving your diet, reducing stress, or doctor-prescribed medication can help diminish this symptom.


Irritable bowel syndrome can also accelerate your bowel movements, causing your gut to produce loose and watery stool and leading to uncontrollable diarrhea. For this reason, IBS patients avoid participating in social activities for the fear of suddenly having the urge to go.


In contrast, constipation may also be a possible symptom for people with IBS. Constipation occurs when an individual experiences bowel movements less than three times a week. If you’re constipated, you may also experience abdominal pains which ease up after you move. Another tell-tale sign of constipation-predominant IBS can be experiencing a sensation of incompleteness each time you go.

Gas And Bloating

Irritable bowel syndrome changes the whole mechanism of your gut, causing you to produce more gas in your stomach that leads to an uncomfortable bloated feeling. To help reduce gas and bloating, gastroenterologists advice avoiding milk products as well as FODMAPs.

Food Intolerance

People who suffer from IBS may also develop food intolerance. Although food that can set off IBS depends on a person, dairy products, greasy food, beans, and indigestible sugars are some of the most common triggers for IBS flare-ups.

It’s also important to note that food intolerance caused by IBS is not the same as food allergies.

Fatigue And Difficulty Sleeping

Irritable bowel syndrome has also been found to lower a person’s stamina and induce fatigue in an individual. In some cases, IBS is also associated with insomnia.

What Causes IBS

As for the cause of IBS, scientists have yet to find a definitive answer. Experts are looking into sensitive colon, immune system, and bacterial infection in the GI tract to find the link as to why IBS develops in an individual.

Can Exercise Improve Symptoms Of IBS

If you’re having concerns whether an exercise routine can trigger your IBS, there’s no reason to be afraid of engaging in physical activity. In fact, exercising may even result to improved IBS symptoms. Researchers have found that severe IBS symptoms are also associated with less physical activity. This means people with sedentary lifestyle are more prone to develop IBS than those who are physically active.

What Exercises Can You Do

If you’re planning to exercise to alleviate signs of IBS, engage in low to moderate intensity workouts. Although there are no thorough studies to back it up, many claim that high intensity workouts may trigger IBS flare-ups. To avoid that, try to ease yourself into your exercise routine. If you’re doing this for the first time, do some light routines. Engage in activities you enjoy so that you’ll want to do them regularly.

You can start with these exercises to identify which helps improve your gut condition:

  • Walking is a low impact activity which is very easy to do on a daily basis. Go for a walk for 30 to 60 minutes to start out your day or after your work.
  • Light jogging not only benefits your gut, but also improves your heart health. It’s a great cardio workout that helps release toxins in your brain, helping you feel refreshed and more able to focus.
  • If you don’t like to tread the pavement with your strides, you can try riding your bike leisurely as your calisthenics for the day. Biking helps improve your heart health as well as stretch and work your leg muscles, allowing you to build better support and mobility.
  • If you’re the competitive type and enjoy exercising with a group of people, you can try participating in organized sports. Playing sports is a great way to reduce stress and socialize with others.

As you can see, achieving your fitness goals is still possible even when you have IBS. Don’t be afraid to try out different exercises. What’s important here is that you ease into your workouts to avoid triggering symptoms of IBS.

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