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  • Carol Michaels

Exercise Tips for Ulcerative Colitis

Exercise Tips for Ulcerative Colitis

Those coping with Ulcerative Colitis need to find ways to decrease stress levels. Relaxation breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety. When feeling stressed, we usually take shallow breaths instead of using our full lung capacity and breathing slowly and deeply. You should be aware of your breathing as it has a calming effect. Inhale for 5 seconds and fill the torso up with air, then exhale from the lower abdomen for 5 seconds, pressing the navel in towards the spine. Imagine all of your tension and stress leaving your body with each exhalation.

Those with UC need to keep a strong pelvic floor. Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles . The pelvic floor muscles are comprised of the bladder, sphincter and the pubococcyges muscle..

Perform the Kegel 10 times holding for 5 seconds each. Try to do this four times per day. Take a 5-second break between each repetition. It may take several weeks or months to be able to contract your muscles for 5 seconds at a time, or to repeat it 10 times. If you perform the Kegel several times per day, your pelvic floor strength should improve.

Aerobic exercise is essential for good health. This includes any movement that elevates your heart rate. As soon as you have medical clearance, you should start walking. UC can cause fatigue. It may seem counterintuitive, but physical activity can help decrease fatigue . Walking can boost your energy. Every day, try to walk farther until you are able to walk for 30-45 minutes

Many UC treatments can increase the risk for osteoporosis. Strength training helps build strong bones. Strength training improves balance and posture by improving core strength. It can improve your quality of life by making activities easier and more enjoyable. It can also reduce the chance of injury and can empower you physically and mentally. You need to learn which exercises are contraindicated for osteoporosis. For example, if you have or are at risk for osteoporosis you should not do forward bends, abdominal crunches or extreme twisting movements.

Falls and fall-related injuries, such as a hip fracture, can have serious consequences. If you fall, it could limit your activities or make it impossible to live independently. Balance and strength exercises can help prevent falls by improving your ability to control and maintain your body's position whether you are in motion or stationary.

The following exercises are aimed at improving your balance and your lower body strength. Start by holding on to a sturdy chair for support. To challenge yourself, start by holding the chair with only one hand. As you improve you will progress to holding the chair with only one finger and eventually you will be able to perform the exercise without holding the chair. To experience the importance of vision in balance, try some of the balance exercises with your eyes closed.

Start your balance exercise routine with the following eight exercises:

  • Standing on One Foot: hold for 10 seconds then switch legs

  • Tightrope: put your heel in front of the toe of the other foot walking a narrow path (put one foot in front of the other as if walking a tightrope)

  • Calf Raises or Heel Raises: stand in place and raising each heel up and down

  • Front, Back, and Side Leg Lifts or Raises

  • Single Leg Stands: stand on one leg for 60 seconds then switch legs

  • Grapevines: stepping sideways while crossing one foot in front, and then in back of the other

  • Pelvic Tilt: beginning level core strength

  • Bridge: core and lower body strength

Always make sure that you are hydrated and that you are close to a bathroom.

Listen to your body and use common sense while exercising.

Exercise is good for our emotional health. It is one thing that you can control and do for yourself. It is empowering. Physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety. Those with UC that exercise reduce stress, increase confidence and build positive health habits. They also gain endurance and increase their energy level. in West Orange New Jersey offers excellent exercise classes for medical conditions taught by nationally recognized health and fitness experts.

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