Oh how people love to gloat. We make announcements when we achieve personal goals that no one else really cares about.
“Woo! Just hit my 10,000 steps for the day on Fitbit!”
Good! Have a cookie. Write a book about it. Punch yourself in the face if it suits your fancy. It has no effect on on me whatsoever.
However, despite all the pretentious bragging, the latest trend is making a lot of the population healthier. And the benefits don’t just apply to non-chronically ill. Those of us with Crohn’s Disease can also reap serious health improvements from simply getting daily light aerobic exercise.
It’s not a cure-all by any means, but this will break down the science behind how walking can help ease your pain.
Lower Stress Levels
Stress is a major factor in Crohn’s activity. Higher stress levels can aggravate your entire system and ultimately leads to more inflammation in your digestive tract. Exercise has been proven to alleviate stress and therefore reduce digestive irritation.
Strength training helps to prevent bone deterioration – commonly known as osteoporosis. This is a very common side effect of Crohn’s Disease due to malnutrition, malabsorption and lack of proper amounts of calcium getting into the body. Light walking is not necessarily ideal for strength training, but hikes with significant elevation change can have a positive effect on this.
Quality of Life
A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that walking three times a week at a moderate pace for about half an hour helped participants with Crohn’s disease improve their symptoms. The participants also noticed overall improvements to their quality of life. They covered an average distance of 3.5 kilometers, or about 2 miles, on each walk.
So what is the takeaway from all of this? Well, we aren’t going to eradicate Crohn’s Disease from the planet by having everyone sign up for 5k Run/Walks, but in combination with medical attention, getting more walking on a daily basis can truly improve symptoms and quality of life for Crohn’s sufferers.
It can be difficult to make yourself or remind yourself to get enough exercise. Not to say you have to go out and get yourself a Fitbit right away and start demanding accolades from your friends when you walk 2 miles around the lake at lunch. But however you want to do it, find a way to get yourself up and active. Sometimes you don’t even realize how sedentary your life really is until you look at the data of your every day life. So in that case, yes a Fitbit would do you some good.
Whatever you choose to do, set your goals and find a way to achieve them. Your health is paramount to everything.