irritable bowel syndrome


Why To Exercise Today: A Calmer Colon

Exercise can improve the diarrhea, cramps and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

For the 15 percent of Americans who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, here’s a choice: cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, or a little exercise. Seems like a no brainer.

Reuters Health today reports on a study of 102 adults that finds regular exercise can improve the annoying and sometimes painful gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the disorder.

After three months, 43 percent of the exercisers showed a “clinically significant” improvement in their symptoms — meaning it was making a difference in their daily lives. That compared with a quarter of the participants who maintained their normal lifestyle.

For people who are currently less-than-active, even a moderate increase in exercise may curb irritable bowel symptoms, according to senior researcher Dr. Riadh Sadik, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

In an email, Sadik said the researchers had told those in the exercise group to get 20 to 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise — like brisk walking or biking — on three to five days out of the week.

That’s a level that is generally safe and achievable, Sadik said. On top of that, the researcher added, “it will also improve your general health.”