Why Exercise So Critical for Fibro/IBS

Incorporating Exercise Can Help Decrease Your Fibro/IBS symptoms.

Exercise is a critical element of self-care and can help decrease Fibro/IBS.

I know, you’re probably saying “You want me to what!?” Exercise for Fibro/IBS relief?

You can’t be serious. It even hurts to just walk, to stand, to rise from sitting!

It it hurts all over…muscles, joints, the bottom of the feet.

I am so tired, and just want to go to lay down.

How can I workout when I hurt so bad, when I am feeling so exhausted?


Exercise is Actually the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Symptoms

Are those some of the things that you have heard yourself say?

I am sure you have. Anyone who lives with a chronic condition like this has said or thought those things at one time or another.

It is so tempting to just go lay down on the sofa and watch TV when you are feeling so tired and achy.


So, why is exercise such an important part of your daily self care plan, an important lifestyle component for Fibro/IBS?

Research shows that regular physical movement is one of the most effective treatments for Fibro/IBS, reducing body aches, increasing energy, improving sleep and reducing other symptoms.

It is important to make exercise an integral part of your lifestyle.

Whatever type of exercise you chose to incorporate into your daily self care plan, it is very important that you start slowly, building endurance and strength.

If you are experiencing too many body aches or lethargy, then begin with gentle movement, and build slowly overtime.

Overdoing can exacerbate your symptoms, which will ultimately keep you from continuing to walk, swim or bike ride.


So, what should you consider when planning your exercise routine?

1. Find your limits and don’t feel tempted to do too much. There is no need to over achieve.

2. Identify what you can and would like to do, walking, swimming, bike riding. If you don’t like to swim, then choose something else that you would enjoy. Fitness balls can be fun and are very effective for building core strength and stretching. And remember, gardening, is exercise too.

3. Incorporate some kind of exercise into your daily self care plan.

4. Start slowly, so as not to exacerbate your symptoms.

5. Increase duration incrementally, as you feel you are able.

6. If you increase duration or intensity, and then feel worse, then back up and return to your previous goal. If you notice a flare-up of symptoms a couple of days after exercising, just know that that can be normal for some. There is no need to hurry. You are not in a race. Take your time. Build up slowly.

7. Keep positive. Repeating your positive affirmation in your head can be very helpful.

8. Listen to upbeat music or a humorous CD while you workout.

9. Drink plenty of water before and after to replenish fluids in your system, and flush lactic acid from your muscles.

10. Stretch, stretch, stretch! Stretch before you exercise and, then again, afterwards.

11. Make sure you stay warm, but not overheated. Cold muscles are tight muscles.

12. Include a banana in your diet. Eat one each morning to reduce muscle cramping. Potassium is necessary for healthy muscle. A nutrient filled diet should become part of your lifestyle. It will provide your muscles, tendons and ligaments the nutrition necessary to support your workout choice.

13. Set aside a regular time to workout, to do your exercises. This will create a pattern, that will be easier for you to follow, and you can build your schedule around it.

14. Plan to do exercise earlier in the day when you have the most energy. Aerobic movement can improve mood, so earlier in the day will give your mood a boost for the rest of the day!

15. Find a friend who will walk, swim or bike ride with you. (But only as long as they stay within YOUR limits. You don’t want to workout with someone who wants to push you beyond where you need to go. If you decide to workout with someone, then make sure you select your workout partner wisely.)

16. Take a warm bath after your workout. Remember to put some Epsom salt in the water.

17. Find joy in whatever activity you choose. Remind yourself that you are being good to yourself, that you are striving toward relief. Remember the power of positive thinking.

18. Make sure you record the exercises of your choice on a self care plan worksheet.

19. Use an exercise tracking worksheet to begin to identify patterns and determine when to increase or decrease the duration of your workout.


Lastly, always track your exercises to determine if you should increase or decrease the duration because as you already know, your body changes it’s mood from day to day with this condition and you want to be able to change with it.