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Exercise in Individuals With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Nathan, Indira PhD, BSc (Hons), SRD; Norton, Christine PhD, MA, RN; Czuber-Dochan, Wladyslawa MSc, PGPD, RN, RNT; Forbes, Alastair MD, FRCP, FHEA

doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000005
Research Study

There is increasing evidence that exercise may improve symptoms in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This study aims to explore issues that clinicians may need to consider when giving advice on exercise to such individuals. Limited existing evidence suggests that low to moderate physical activity may improve symptoms without any adverse effects in individuals with IBD. This is largely supported by the findings of the current case series of “exercising” individuals with IBD who reported that low- to moderate-intensity exercise (most commonly walking) had a positive effect on their mood, fatigue, weight maintenance, and osteoporosis. Overexertion was reported as a potential problem. Scant advice regarding exercise had been given by their healthcare professionals according to participants. The current literature and findings of this small case series suggest that exercise is likely to be beneficial and safe for individuals with IBD. However, more research is required on which recommendations for exercise could be based.

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Indira Nathan, PhD, BSc (Hons), SRD, is Research Associate, Centre for Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University College London, London, England.

Christine Norton, PhD, MA, RN, is Florence Nightingale Professor of Clinical Nursing Research, King's College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, London, England.

Wladyslawa Czuber-Dochan, MSc, PGPD, RN, RNT, is PhD Research Fellow, King's College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, London, England.

Alastair Forbes, MD, FRCP, FHEA, is Professor of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition, University College London and University College London Hospital, Department of Gastroenterology, London, England.

Correspondence to: Indira Nathan, PhD, BSc (Hons), SRD, Centre for Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Rockefeller Building, University College London, Gower St., London WC1 6BT, England (

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This study has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund and is commissioned by Crohn's and Colitis UK.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received April 28, 2012

Accepted August 02, 2012

© 2013 by the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.