Workouts for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Hello, loves! Something special is in this blog post today. I really want to share with you a guest post by Maggie Downie, owner and Pilates Instructor of Personal Euphoria in Connecticut. Maggie is an expert in the field, she has an admirable respect for the human body, and she is one of the most genuine people you’ll meet!

Read Maggie’s guest post on movement with Inflammatory Bowel Disease below. Sometimes the smallest of movements can make the biggest difference.

Maggie also has a few videos below of what you can do to help! Best part? You can do them at home just steps away from the bathroom.


Maggie’s Professional Tips on Movement for IBD

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Autoimmune diseases like IBD come with good days and bad days. Some days you feel you can take on the world and then there are days where everything you do feels like a chore that consumes all your energy.

On the tough days it can be hard to get motivated for a workout, but science shows that movement can be the best thing for what ails us.  As a kid, if you had gas pain in our house, my mother prescribed walking around the house doing the “chicken walk”—pulling your knees up as high and wide as possible. The more ridiculous and exaggerated, the more it would help. It wasn’t pleasant in the moment (although it provided entertainment to those present), but it helped. I still do the chicken walk if needed – privately. While I don’t think the chicken walk itself has ever undergone scientific analysis, the benefits of movement have.

For most pain, if we fail to keep active the pain increases. And when you struggle with your health chronically it can lead to depression. But even basic forms of exercise can be a fantastic pick-me-up. Movement helps with blood flow, oxygenation of your cells, and the lymph system (the body’s sewer system for moving waste and toxins). So when things don’t seem to be working as they should, motion can help encourage the body to get on track.

Remember “No Pain No Gain” is a myth. You don’t have to feel agony or sore later to reap the benefits of movement. When you are having a down day, if you do gentle movement you should feel good about it. You don’t have to feel like you should have pushed harder, better, faster. Listening to your body is vital.

So on the days you want to move, but your body is resistant, here is a gentle ten minute workout:
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Sometimes when the body in is pain, it will hint at what it needs. So if some of these moves feel great in your body, try those every day. Having worked to help mobilize a number of people in pain, my experience shows that the body often intuitively knows what it needs. It is just hard to hear what it’s saying, especially when we hurt.

On days when you’re feeling a bit better, consider this 10-minute workout:

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It’s a little more challenging, but nothing crazy. And you can do it from the privacy of your own home. Then, follow it up with a Mangia Paleo meal and feel good that you were kind to your body.

Maggie Downie is a Pilates Instructor and Owner of Personal Euphoria in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  She works with athletes, dancers, and post-rehabilitation clients, but no matter who she is working with her goal is to get and keep people moving.  She has Hashimoto's (an autoimmune disease) and hypothyroidism, which means she can relate to having unexpected good days and bad days.  She blogs about wellness and enjoying life and she has a number of fitness and Pilates videos on YouTube at Euphoria Pilates.  Though gluten free, she finds that Paleo recipes are almost always better than gluten-free recipes so she loves her cousin Laura’s Mangia Paleo.

What do you think?


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