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Study: Frequent Exercise Improves the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Published on , Last Updated on June 11, 2013

woman exercising with ball

New findings by Swedish researchers at Sahlgrenska University in Gothenburg further support claims that regular exercise can help to dramatically decrease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Altogether a total of 102 previously documented adult IBS patients, ranging from ages 18 to 65, took part in this new IBS study [1]. The participants were randomly assigned into one of two groups:

  1. An experimental group whose members where instructed to increase their daily activity level
  2. A comparative control group whose members were told to maintain their current lifestyle habits.

Participants in the more active experimental group were asked to perform some sort of moderate to vigorous physical exercise, such as quick-paced walking or running, for an minimum of 20 to 30 minutes, at least three to five days each week, for an overall period lasting three months.

Members of both groups were each surveyed at the start of the investigation in order to determine the severity their individual IBS symptoms. All of the participants, regardless of their group assignment, also received regular, encouraging telephone calls from physiotherapists for additional support.

At the end of the initial three month investigation period, each of the participants was re-surveyed to gauge what changes, if any, had developed in relation to their IBS symptoms. Based on the 100-point survey scale, with negative impact on daily quality of life increasing as the score increases, the researchers were able to document an impressive 51-point reduction in adverse symptoms among exercise group participants, on average. Conversely, members of the control group, on average, showed only a 5-point decrease in their IBS symptoms, possibly in direct response to the motivating phone calls they had received.

5 Tips For Managing IBS Symptoms

While the evidence presented in these Sahlgrenska findings give patients suffering with irritable bowel syndrome even greater reason to keep a positive attitude and stay physically active, that’s only one step in managing the symptoms of IBS.

1) Follow A Healthy Diet & Avoid IBS Trigger Foods
Eating well and keeping the lower digestive tract free of toxins and other unwanted debris that can cause inflammation, especially in people with unusually sensitive bowels, also plays an important role in preventing unnecessary pain. Be mindful of what you put in your body, and try to avoid IBS trigger foods.

2) Follow a Regular Sleep Routine
We all know that following a regular sleep routine is beneficial to our health, but according to a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology people that frequently disrupt the body’s natural sleep clock have shown to more susceptible to IBS symptoms. Going to sleep around the same time every night may just be one of the best things you can do for your health.

3) Add Peppermint To Your Diet
According to a recent study out of Australia, adding peppermint to your diet may help relieve the pain associated with your IBS symptoms. The peppermint-infused herbal remedy enters into your digestive tract and activates an “anti-pain” channel located in the bowel.

4) Add Probiotics To Your Diet
Taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic foods are another great remedy to help with your IBS symptoms. Probiotics are beneficial types of bacteria that helps stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that help keep our digestive tract funtioning properly.

5) Take An Oxygen Colon Cleanser
According to the results of another recent study, using an oxygen colon cleanser to help keep your bowels clean may also help reduce the amount of IBS symptoms you experience daily. Because it uses pure oxygen to help breakup and remove waste matter that may be trapped inside the large intestine, oxygen colon cleansers are gentle enough for even the most delicate intestinal tissues.

Unlike other colon cleansing methods, which typically rely on either massive qualities of insoluble fiber, or a combination of botanical and synthetic chemicals in attempts to forcibly cleanse the bowels, Oxy-Powder is free of tag-along contaminants that can potentially cause irritation. It’s also the only oxygen-based cleansing product to be backed by more the a decade’s worth of careful research, as well as scientifically shown under laboratory conditions to help noticeably alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM


  1. Elisabet Johannesson, Magnus Simrén, Hans Strid, Antal Bajor and Riadh Sadik. Physical activity improves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized cotrolled trial. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011 January 14.

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Posted In: Clinical Studies,Colon Health Blog,Irritable Bowel Syndrome,Lifestyle Tips
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