Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 215–220 | Cite as

Exercise and Self-Reported Limitations in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Ersilia M. DeFilippis
  • Saniya Tabani
  • Ryan U. Warren
  • Paul J. Christos
  • Brian P. Bosworth
  • Ellen J. Scherl
Original Article



Limited evidence suggests that exercise may have beneficial, anti-inflammatory effects in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of exercise in patients with IBD and the limitations they experience secondary to their disease.


Two hundred and fifty IBD patients were prospectively enrolled in this study at an academic medical center at the time of their outpatient visits between March and October 2013. Subjects were asked to complete a one-time survey that asks questions about medical and surgical history, exercise frequency and intensity, and the limitations and barriers they experience.


Two hundred and twenty-seven patients (148 female patients) completed the survey. Crohn’s disease was present in 140 patients (61.5 %), while 87 had ulcerative colitis. Forty-one patients (16.4 %) never exercised, 82 patients (32.8 %) exercised 1–2 times per week, 59 (23.6 %) exercised 3–4 times per week, and 45 (18.0 %) exercised more than four times per week. Of the 186 who regularly exercise, 95 (51 %) reported moderate exercise intensity, 61 (33 %) reported light intensity, and 30 (16 %) reported vigorous intensity. Ninety-nine patients (44 %) reported that their IBD limited their exercise for reasons including fatigue (n = 81), joint pain (n = 37), embarrassment (n = 23), weakness (n = 21), and others.


Although they may benefit from exercise, IBD patients experience considerable barriers to regular exercise secondary to the relapsing and remitting nature of IBD. Larger studies are needed to determine the effects of exercise on disease symptomatology and activity.


Physical activity Crohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Exercise 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Paul Christos was partially supported by the following Grant: Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC) (UL1-TR000457-06). Dr. Ellen Scherl has received honoraria from GIHealth Foundation and Janssen for non-branded speaker’s bureau. Dr. Ellen Scherl is currently receiving grants/research support from Abbott (AbbVie), AstraZeneca, CCFA, Elan, Janssen Research & Development, Mesoblast (formerly Osiris Therapeutics), National Institute of Health (NIH), New York Crohn’s Foundation, Pfizer, Prometheus Laboratories, UCB, UCSF-CCA Clinical Research Alliance. Dr. Ellen Scherl is a consultant to AbbVie, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), GIHealth Foundation, Janssen, Prometheus, Protagonist Therapeutics, Salix, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and UCB. For the remaining authors, no conflicts of interest were declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ersilia M. DeFilippis
    • 1
  • Saniya Tabani
    • 1
  • Ryan U. Warren
    • 1
  • Paul J. Christos
    • 2
  • Brian P. Bosworth
    • 1
  • Ellen J. Scherl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyWeill Cornell Medical Center-New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Healthcare Policy and ResearchWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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