Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Steven Root

Could this be the worst exercise for IBD?

For those of you who’ve been following my content for a while, you’ll know that I promote exercise as an important part of healing from IBD.

But not all exercise is good, especially for those looking to heal ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease naturally.

And unfortunately for a lot of people, the exercise that I want to discuss today, is running.

Running with colitis or Crohn’s can cause problems.

In fact, anyone who has done a fair bit of running has likely noticed some urgency at some point.

Let’s look to two reputable sources:

“30% to 81% of runners report gastrointestinal complaints, which include bloating, abdominal cramps, rectal incontinence, and gastrointestinal bleeding.”


In fact, it is so common for running to lead to gastrointestinal distress and ulcerative colitis & Crohn’s like symptoms, that this is often called Runner’s Colitis or Runner’s Trots..

The medical name, however, is ischemic colitis, which happens when there is a restriction in the blood supply to your digestive organs.


“All that bouncing up and down can actually jostle your organs and push food through your digestive tract faster, explains Peyton Berookim, M.D., F.A.C.G., director of the Gastroenterology Institute of Southern California. At the same time, some of the blood that normally flows to your intestines is being diverted away toward your leg muscles. All of these factors can mess with your digestion and leave you feeling queasy or like you need to find a bathroom right away.

Hormones can also play a role. High-endurance exercise like running signals the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to that sensation of having to go, Berookim says. And the anxiety and pressure that can sometimes come with racing only make things worse.”


So which exercises are good for Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s then?

The exercises we should turn to are exercises that do not involve extreme fatigue, or a lot of jolting as described above by Peyton Berookim.

The 2 exercises that I most commonly recommend are walking and weight training, and NOT to exhaustion.

Short video below.