I have had times when running that I was quite literally running directly to a washroom. I believe every single person living with IBD has a secret life called “Usain Bolt” when the urge hits!! After running in wooded areas only with napkins in tow I called bullshit. I went to the gym.
When you’re at the gym you will not get 30 mins jog pace from home, encounter crippling stomach pain or exhaustion and be stuck far from home and desperate for a washroom. Use a stationary piece of cardio equipment, such as a bike, elliptical or rowing machine. You can easily control your workload, pause or take it easy to work through a sudden pain in the gut. Because the equipment is low or no impact you will not be bouncing around inflamed and/or ulcered organs, they don’t like that.
Most pieces of equipment have built in heart rate monitors (you can also easily get a HR monitor for $50 or so). You should be working at 60% – 70% of your max heart rate to maximize your fitness gains and minimize stress on your system. How do you find your maximum heart rate?! I got you covered! 220 – ‘your age’ gives you your maximum heart rate. To find 60% you multiply your max HR by .6. To find 70% you multiply your max HR by .7. My personal example … 220 – 30 = 190. 190*.6 = 114. 190*.7 = 133. My ideal HR zone when I am flaring is 114 – 133. Simple right!
Cardio is fabulous for your circulatory, digestive, and adrenal systems along with the countless positive emotional benefits. It will improve your energy levels, as well as your physical and emotional ability to cope with the burden of chronic illness.
I can promise you a few things. Exercise when you feel crappy is not always what you want to do. It will not always be easy. It will not always feel good. But the most important thing I can promise you is that IT IS WORTH EVERY SINGLE SECOND. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH!!! It starts here. With you.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.