You’ll have to excuse me for a moment because I’m a closet nerd and I have to geek-out about this blog that I recently stumbled across, called “Evidence Based IBD” by Martin Bishop (a little more on Bishop below). He has a great post that compliments my earlier entry regarding exercise while flaring titled: “Exercise and IBD.” His particular focus is inflammation and exercise. He writes, “Exercise is linked to inflammation in two ways – acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs immediately after exercising (at least intense exercising). Chronic inflammation is the overall level of inflammatory markers present while not exercising.” Of course for us UC sufferers, avoiding inflammation is the name of the game, and that’s where (as I wrote prior) our fitness becomes a Catch-22. However, what I read next from Bishop corroborates my walk-don’t-run message:
Bishop continues: “The easiest effects for IBD sufferers to recognize and associate with are the acute effects of exercise. Light (briskly walking a couple of miles) to moderate (swimming for 30 minutes) exercise tends to have minimal effect. Strenuous exercise (running a marathon) does tend to have an effect – namely the provocation of heartburn, fecal incontinence and diarrhea. Individuals running triathlons, even those without underlying IBD, have experienced GI symptoms (between 30 and 81% have reported this). . .The long term impact of exercise is exactly the opposite. Increased bone density, reduced stress levels, and overall lower at-rest levels of all three major inflammatory markers are present. The impact was found to happen after even light exercise over a 12-week period, and is proportional (though with diminishing returns) to the intensity of the exercise. . .As a side benefit, regular exercise has been correlated with a 50% reduction in the risk for developing colon cancer.” (Which, as we know, we have a greater risk of developing). For more juicy factoids, check out his entire post.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of Bishop’s site, but it’s chalk-full of all kinds of cerebral IBD candy that will keep me busy for hours while laid up with my laptop and Frenchies. I highly encourage you to check it out and add it to the IBD/UC/Crohn’s blogs you may be following, especially because it rounds out a lot of the subjective material out there. On his Intro page Bishop states that he has “a background in biomedical research” and that he is a “published author.” Bishop explains that he will “strive to present the latest evidence on various topics, along with pointers to solid research, related to IBD. I will not provide a forum for anecdotal stories or idiosyncratic responses. . .I don’t work for a pharmaceutical company (in full disclosure I did IT work for a pharma company years ago), nor do I work for any manufacturer or peddler of alleged IBD cures. I don’t have any built-in bias against any particular treatment, from herbal remedies to diets to the latest biological drugs. My only bias is to what has been adequately tested and shows results in a well controlled study that is large enough to have statistical significance.”
Well amen. It’s about time somebody did!