Bloating, abdominal pain and other symptoms of an IBS flare up are often caused by stress. Managing stress effectively is therefore imperative in order to prevent such flare ups. Physical exercise and relaxation techniques including meditation and deep breathing exercises can all help to reduce stress and minimise the chance of suffering a stress-related IBS flare up.
Exercising to Avoid an IBS Flare Up
Swimming, walking and running are all known to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as are Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. You can find some Yoga poses perfect for IBS at Yoga International, and this video shows some great Tai Chi moves to begin with.
Newcomers to Pilates may find this video helpful, but it may be a good idea to first of all read this post on possibly necessary variations to the way these exercises are performed in order to avoid actually making an IBS flare up worse. A brisk 30-minute walk (followed by 10 to 15 minutes of gentle home-based exercise routines) is, by the way, particularly helpful in relieving constipation.
Deep breathing exercises like the one shown on the NHS.UK Website are a great way to relieve stress and prevent having to deal with IBS flare ups. The secret to effectively prevent flare ups here is to breathe from the diaphragm, rather than the chest, as this helps to relax the abdominal muscles, which in turn helps to regulate bowel activity.
For progressive relaxation, sit or lie down comfortably, then tense and relax all the muscles in your body, starting at the feet and gradually working up through your calves, thighs and abdomen; arms and all main muscle groups throughout your body until you reach your face and finally, your scalp. Make sure to concentrate on each area long enough to release all tension before moving on.