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519 Person Exercise and UC Survey

519 People participated in this month’s iHaveUC survey.

A SUPER HUGH-FRIGGIN-MUNGUS “Thanks” to everyone from the newsletter group who took a few moments to share your answers.  (Some of the responses to the exercise survey allowed for a customized response, and due to the amount of responses, a separate PDF file with the full survey’s responses should also be read.

[box type=”download”]Download the full Exercise Survey Here[/box]

Below are the answers to the survey questions.

Enjoy reading the survey results, and below, MAKE SURE to check out pictures from your favorite UC’ers in the world.  Over 100 pictures at the bottom of this page just for you:)

Question 1:

Do you exercise More of Less since you have been diagnosed with UC?

55% – YES 284 people

 45% – NO – 235 people

Question 2:

How many days per week do you exercise?

24% – 3 Days – 123 people

17% – 5 Days – 88 people

15% – 2 Days – 77 people

14% – 4 Days – 71 people

10% – 0 Days – 50 people

9% – 1 Day – 47 people

7% – 6 Days – 34 people

6% – 7 Days – 29 people

Question 3:

What is your most common form of exercise?

41% – Walking – 207 people

13% – Running – 65 people

10% – Weight Lifting – 49 people

5%  – Yoga – 25 people

4% –  Bike Riding – 22 people

4% –  Playing Sports – 19 people

2% –  Swimming – 8 people

1% –  Golf – 3 people

<1%- Ice Skating – 1 person

22% – Other Option – 112 people

Other options included: dancing, crossfit, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), stretching, aquafitness, skipping, pilates, boxing, zumba

Question 4:

Do you think that too much exercise can aggravate your UC?

49% – No, I don’t think too much exercise aggrevates my UC

20% – Yes, too much exercise is not good for my colitis

31% – Other Option

“Other Option” included some of the following comments (all of the “other options comments are included in the full download of the survey results via PDF – click here to read)

  • I’m too busy and too much of a lazy slug. I think more exercise would make me feel better mentally as well as physically. I still remember those endorphin highs from running. Funny thing the UC diagnosis happened when I was more physically active (age 26) – now I’m 60. I need to find time to “tell my story.” I have plenty to say. I hope LONG stories are okay. (BTW had colonoscopy today. FYI that pretty new SuPrep is 1,000 x better than Go Litely (and I have always wondered what kind of jokester came up with THAT name!)
  • Cardio can aggravate my symptoms. However, some form of excercise even when in a bad flare helps but I choose less strenuous yoga classes at those times.
  • I feel too much abdominal work overtime can possibly make uc worst. Not 100% sure but I prefer to do some abdominal work here and there not every week as I feel it’s not long before my bowel starts to feel worst.
  • Although sometimes I do have a fear that I will need to go to the bathroom mid-run, I find that I have my best days when I get my body moving.
  • I was only diagnosed in January and managed to get it under control with prednisone (which I am now off) and mesalazine I get to a point where i am generally symptom free. When i exercise now I do tire very easily and if I push it too much I get stomach cramps. I gained considerable weight on the prednisone so am not sure if me tiring easily is a result of that or the UC.

Question #5:

Are you scared to exercise or be more active because of your UC?

38% – Sometimes

36% – No

26% – Yes

– there were over 100 comments included in this response, here are a few samples (all the comments for this question are included in the free to everyone – full survey report)

  • If it is acute UC I dont feel to put more pressure on my body by doing exercise, but if my belly is doing fine, it seems to be helpful to do some physical exercise
  • No, but if I really don’t feel well I don’t push myself.
  • My condition is well managed with diet SCD diet (some cheating!) and my Gastro assures me things won’t get any worse. Hope that’s true!
  • During a flare, there is definitely the worry about having an accident when doing exercise, especially running and team sports. When I’m not in a flare up, I still worry about whether I may be aggravating any scar tissue or inflammation inside me.
  • I stopped walking around the block stick with treadmill
  • No , but I do find I can’t do as intense of workouts as before.
  • It is often hard to find a washroom when walking/biking/being active. So yes, that can be scary!

Question #6:

Do you have any ideas about UC and exercise based on your own experiences that you think might be helpful for others?

(There were 200 answers submitted by UC’ers, a small sample is listed below, the full list of all responses is included in the PDF download of the entire exercise survey)

  • Exercise is good for everyone, just not when you feel sick. Stretching and Yoga helps also.
  • I think probably low level activity is good – such a slow, easy walks – when you’re in a flare. Good for your physical and mental health. I think if you’re in a bad flare, you just have to accept that you cannot do heavy exercise like you might want to. That your body in a flare is fighting hard enough to heal itself – you don’t need to challenge your body even more by heavy exercise or over exercise. It’s frustrating and hard to accept though.
  • UC is affected by stress and emotion more than anything else. Exercising releases endorphins making me less stressed, happier and healthier.
  • Exercise is good but be sure to keep hydrated. I have more energy when I exercise.
  • Just that the colon cramping can happen to anybody, but more often to UC’ers due to scar tissue build up so be aware if it and if you find that it is interfering with your exercise routine then there are IBS drugs out there that relax the muscles enough to help prevent them. Personally for me though I just learned to chill out when they start and they subside…and if they don’t then there is always tomorrow to try again.
  • Depening on the severity of a flare up, a trip to the gym or a run outside in the fresh air and sunshine tends to put me in a better psychological mood.  Ideally I go weight lifing at the gym Monday Wednesday and Friday and head outside for a run on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • I don’t fine that exercise helps my UC, I have been exercising for over five years, since I was diagnosed with UC thinking it would help. What it does help is my state of mind and my ability to cope with flare ups.

Now Time to Check Out the Pictures

My favorite part of the survey for sure.

Below are the pictures that over 100 of the responders to the survey submitted.  Some people who included their picture answered question #6 above, and for those people, I’ve included their response below their picture.  (Awesome pictures once again everyone! Had no clue we have rodeo riders here:)))



(Some pretty cool pictures right!!   YEAH UC’ers:)))

Thank you Thank you SO much to everyone from the newsletter who participated in the survey.  There will be more surveys to come in the future, on a wide range of topics like we’ve conducted so far in the past, so keep your eyes peeled for the announcements as they happen.

And finally, maybe you’re wondering where the Exercise and Ulcerative Colitis survey this month came from??

Like most things on the site, this survey once again was composed of a very international group.  And UC’ers from THIRTY-TWO countries participated.  Here’s the list of the countries represented here:

United States                  318 61%
United Kingdom              62 12%
Canada                               39 8%
Australia                            20 4%
Ireland                                14 3%
New Zealand                        7 1%
India                                      5 1%
South Africa                         4 1%
Mexico                                   4 1%
United Arab Emirates        3 1%
Puerto Rico                           2 <1%
Pakistan                                 2 <1%
Germany                                2 <1%
Malta                                      2 <1%
Sweden                                   1 <1%
Russia                                     1 <1%
Philippines                            1 <1%
Slovenia                                 1 <1%
Trinidad and Tobago          1 <1%
Saint Vincent/Grenadines 1 <1%
Peru                                        1 <1%
Ukraine                                  1 <1%
Turks and Caicos Islands   1 <1%
Estonia                                   1 <1%
Ethiopia                                 1 <1%
Spain                                      1 <1%
Brazil                                      1 <1%
France                                    1 <1%
Hong Kong                            1 <1%
Netherlands                          1 <1%
Jordan                                    1 <1%
Norway                                  1 <1%
Unknown (not sure here)17 3%

Exercise and Colitis Conclusion

Ulcerative Colitis is not a one size fits all type of disease in terms of medical treatments, and the same goes for exercise.  But we can all agree that just because we (as a collective group) were all diagnosed with UC at some point in time…that road bump in our lives do not have to stop us forever from waking up and being active people. (right folks??)

I can’t really think of any physical activity that wasn’t covered here, so go out and be active if you like.  It is entirely possible.  There’s not much that is off limits if you don’t want it to be.  And the same goes for the rest of our life.

I wish each and everyone of you the very best in meeting your goals with your UC.  We’re all different but we at the same time we’re all in the same tribe together.  Keep your head up if times are not going perfect right now, things can and will come around and UC flares don’t last forever.

Get some great things done this 2nd half of 2014,

-Adam Scheuer

(on a total side note, I was down in Laguna Beach last week and took a ton of photos of people doing sports…walking, swimming, biking, roller blading… I thought I’d put some within this survey to make it look better…Guess what…no need for those lame pics!  I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to beat the pictures added by you guys right!  so big thanks again for all your pictures:)

((and finally, if you’re not on our free newsletter yet and you want to take part and be notified of future surveys like the one coming up soon, you need to get on that group – sign up here ))

7 thoughts on “519 Person Exercise and UC Survey”

    1. Hi Kim,

      doing great, i’ll be coming up on several years of remission soon, so can’t complain. thanks for asking and make sure to read through the survey results:) I just posted the survey two minutes ago, and I’m guessing there’s no way you can read this whole thing that fast:))

  1. Another wonderful survey. Adam and all the UC’ers who contribute to this blog have given me the hope and strength to stay positive. I’m so grateful to each of you!

    On the exercise topic, I used to be a runner. I’ve been in an uncontrolled flare for a year and still trying new treatments while hardly exercising.
    I asked my GI and my uncle, a cardiologist about running a half marathon before I was in the flare.
    The GI said only if I was in remission for a year and my uncle warned against it.
    My GI daid he had a 21 year old male patient have a stroke while running with a flare!
    My cardiologist uncle said while exercising, the majority blood supply goes to support the vital organs; heart, lungs etc. and if your in a flare your blood supply is busy collecting at the colon to manage the inflamation. Intense exercise during even a minor flare could make it dangerous by diverting the blood supply elsewhere.
    It could cause ischaemia (which is lack of bloodflow) to the colon in my case and could result in ischemic colitis.
    You don’t want that believe me.
    So be mindful of your disease and modify exercise to meet it’s blood supply needs.
    I hated this advice but it’s true, I don’t want to stroke out or get ischaemia.
    I’m too depressed to do more than walk my dog right now but reading everyone’s stories truly, genuinely inspires me. All of you are a great blessing!

  2. I have had UC for 36 years with 2 flares putting me on life support . I try to stay active and find the physical exercise helps my UC as well as my outlook. At 61 and 62 I did triathlons and now play a lot of golf at nearly 70. If I can do it others can.

  3. i am 31 i have had UC for the last 3 years. i tried Pentasa but i stopped it after 2 or 3 weeks. for the last 3 years i ve been through 6 flalre ups. i never took a treatment because im stupid maybe. im upset with life. please excuse my english. I feel pain in my joint when i do a small physical exercice. when i read ur comments it lifts my spirit. but i think for me it s too late. i used to run like forrest gump, now i can t. plz God someone finds a cure

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