We all have some awareness of the benefits of exercise for our health. For people living with chronic disease, the benefits of exercise can be even more important to their well-being. For instance, exercise can provide an anti-inflammatory effect, boost the immune system, promote bone mineral density and prevent osteoporosis, all of which are important factors to monitor when managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Poor bone density is a common risk for IBD patients, especially those who take corticosteroids, however it has been shown that resistance training in particular can improve bone health and reduce patients’ risk of bone fractures. Low or moderate intensity exercise are ideal to achieve all these benefits, while vigorous or extended periods of exercise can stress the body and are not recommended for people with IBD.
On top of the general impacts of exercise on IBD health, did you know that the benefits of exercise can also extend to the vast community of bacteria in your gut microbiome? Butyrate production and several bacterial species benefit from exercise, such as Veillonella and Lactobacillus plantarum. This helps regulate metabolism and energy use, gut barrier health and function, and more. In general, physical activity is thought to improve gut microbiome diversity and richness, which can affect gut function and the health of patients with chronic and immune-related diseases.