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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can I still exercise during a flare up phase of Crohn's?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Michael Kline

    Exercise Physiologist, Exercise Scientist

    I am an accredited Exercise Physiologist and have worked with a variety of clients including chronic disease, general population, athletes and corporate/workplace. To give a … View Profile

    That would really depend on your symptoms. My understanding is that symptoms can vary a bit with Crohn's so, it depends upon what type of symptoms you're experiencing and the severity of the symptoms. Obviously, if you're suffering from severe abdominal pain or if you're experiencing vomiting, then exercise should be avoided. If your symptoms are mild and manageable, then very light activity would be advised until the symptoms calm down.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Michael
    I was interested in your response to this question as I have Ulcerative Colitis I was pretty sick last year with it but kept going to the gym etc., and pushed myself to the point where I ended up in hospital.  I am better than last year but found I can get very tired easily still which upsets me as I loved going to the gym and working out.  but my joints also hurt quite a lot also, and recently I hurt my lower back and now on top of my UC I have had to stop doing exercises again. 
    I am hoping to get my back sorted out with physio or an operation but would love to get back to exercising again what do you recommend to slowly get back into exercising and do you thing I should see an exercises Physiologist to help out.  I also suffer from Prednisone induced Diabetes.  Any suggestions would be great.
    thank you

  • Carly Ryan

    Exercise Physiologist

    I have been working with chronic disease for over 7 years delivering individualised and group interventions as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. I have a great … View Profile

    Exercise is generally safe if it is gentle and low level. If you are having a flare up of Crohn's, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Try not to push through the symptoms if they are quite bad and just generally wait until they do subside, so that you can recommence with a gentle exercise program.

  • 1


    During an acute phase of Crohns disease the gut will be inflamed so the absorption of food and nutrients may be compromised so not enough energy or nutrition is being absorbed for you to exercise. Iron can often be low which can cause a feeling of tiredness/fatigue. However a Dietitian can help you with this if you would like to continue to exercise to ensure you are getting the nutrition that you need in a form that can be well absorbed without making your symtoms worse. The time and intensity of your exercise however may need to be modified.

    Light exercise can do a great thing for giving a great feeling of wellbeing and this may be where exercise has its greatest value during this time.

    The practicality of exercise may be difficult also, depending on the symptoms  being experienced especially if there is unpredictable diarrhoea or abdominal pain, but these may not be present in all individuals with Crohns in the acute phase.

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