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Low-Intensity Exercise Improves Quality of Life in Patients With Crohn's Disease

Ng, Victor MSc*; Millard, Wanda MD*; Lebrun, Constance MD*; Howard, John MD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2007 - Volume 17 - Issue 5 - p 384-388
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31802b4fda
Original Research

Objective: This study examines the effects of a low-intensity walking program on the quality of life in patients with Crohn's disease.

Design: Patients were randomized into exercise and nonexercise groups for a prospective study.

Setting: Patients were recruited at the inflammatory bowel disease outpatient clinic at the London Health Science Center, London, Ontario.

Patients: Thirty-two adult patients met the inclusion criteria of (1) mildly active disease or disease in remission, (2) habitual physical activity of less than 2 times per week of vigorous activity, (3) not anticipating change of dose or type of medication for Crohn's disease, and (4) no history of cardiovascular disease. All 32 patients who entered the study completed the 3-month study.

Intervention: Patients performed low-intensity walking at an interval of 3 times per week for a duration of 3 months. Each walking session lasted for 30 minutes.

Main Outcome Measurements: The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire, the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Stress Index, and the Harvey-Bradshaw Simple Index were used as outcome. Survey measurements were recorded at 1-month intervals on commencement of the walking program.

Results: Patients in the exercise group experienced a statistically significant (P < 0.05) improvement in quality of life in all 3 of the outcome measurement questionnaires with no detrimental effects in terms of disease activity.

Conclusion: A low-intensity walking program may have a beneficial effect in patients with Crohn's disease and improve their quality of life with no exacerbations in disease symptoms.

From the *Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario; and †Department of Paediatrics, Schulich School of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.

Submitted for publication October 27, 2006; accepted February 4, 2007.

Reprints: Victor Ng, MSc, Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, 3M Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.