Benefits of Exercise for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Patients

For most people, regular exercise will improve your overall health. Patients with IBD are no exception and may see additional benefits outside their GI system.

Ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis, has been associated with IBD and can be improved with exercise. Symptoms typically appear in early adulthood and include reduced flexibility in the spine, which can eventually result in a hunched-forward posture. Pain in the back and joints is also common. Exercise therapy will improve spinal column flexibility and strength, and decrease joint pain.

Patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis should enjoy a regular exercise regimen to obtain and maintain bone density. Differences have been found in both the spine and hip on x-ray when patients consistently exercising. Patients should aim to exercise at least three times per week.

Small changes can make a big difference – think about taking regular walks. If you need to be close to a washroom, try heading to the mall and walk. Use small free weights, climb stairs or dance! Do what is most enjoyable to you!


Evelyn Gilkinson is the Nurse Lead for Charlton Health Inc. Before devoting herself solely to Infusing Biologics, Gilkinson worked at Toronto General Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre (Adelaide, Australia), and the London Health Science Centre in Thoracic Step Down, neonate, pediatric and adult Intensive Care, Recovery Room, and Emergency Medicine. Evelyn has done research for The Canadian Cervical Spine Study and with the AIM Health Group. She established the first out-of Hospital Infusion Centres in London and Waterloo. For the last twelve years, Evelyn was the Nurse Supervisor for South Western Ontario for many infusion sites until joining the Charlton team in the summer of 2016.

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