Barriers to Exercise

Some patients with IBD have limitations to the amount and intensity of exercise their body can handle. People with IBD may be hesitant to exercise due to practical concerns like bathroom access. Others may fear the onset of symptoms like increased urgency, inflammation, decreased blood flow, and disease flare up. 

In one study, 44% of patients reported fatigue, joint pain, weakness, and embarrassment were some of the ways IBD limited their exercise. IBD-related anemia may also play a role in exercise capacity.

Two specific barriers to exercise include arthritis and osteoporosis, two IBD-specific comorbidities. However, exercise is proven to be a beneficial therapy for these diseases, and is the most accessible and cost-effective. 

Patients with IBD have higher rates of arthritis, specifically ankylosing spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and sacroiliac joints.

Patients with IBD also have higher rates of osteoporosis than the general population. This is likely due to a combination of inflammation, malabsorption, and the types of medications they are taking. 

Exercise increases flexibility, strength, bone mineral density, and pain reduction in joints which can help with these secondary conditions.

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