person pushing a shopping cart around store and the ground looks like a running track

Ideas on How to Get Moving With Crohn's Disease

Last updated: September 2019

When my health began to tank several years ago, I was spinning out in a severe flare-up. I have Crohn’s, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Quite a mix, I know. Every step was painful, every movement was painful, eating was painful – everything hurt. This left me homebound for the most part, which was increasingly more like bed-bound. Not being able to move with ease was new to me and it sucked. Moving with Crohn’s disease, as well as multiple other inflammatory diseases like Psoriatic Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis is so important.

So, for those who told me I just had to force myself to get up and move and will feel better. I have a few choice words for them. When is this feeling better thing supposed to start? It’s been 7 years; asking for a friend.

With that said I still get up and go out. I try to get at least some movement in even on bad days. What I’m about to tell you, reader, is something that you may think, “Isn’t this a given?” And my answer to you is, “Yes, it is. But just because it’s a given, doesn’t mean people think about it or actually do it. And it doesn’t mean that it’s easy, either.”


I live in Florida, aka the Sunshine State. During the summer, our temperatures and the feel’s like temperature easily reach over 100 degrees. These temps come with a specific set of challenges for those, like me, who due to heat have cardiac involvement and dehydration issues.

Here are a few things I’ve implemented to get some movement in during the day. After all, every little bit helps.

Tips to stay active and keep moving with Crohn's disease

Dog walking

Take your dog or a neighbor’s dog for a walk. Short walks a few times a day can help build up your stamina. On my good-good days, I’ll try to take my dog for a longer walk. When it is super-hot, though, we keep it to short walks.

Short walks around the neighborhood

If you don’t have a dog or one to borrow, take yourself out for short walks. If you can’t do walks outside, I’ll have a tip for that. Keep reading.

Quick workouts at home

Websites and Apps like YouTube and Instagram have professionals posting quick workouts from light-weight-lifting exercises to yoga routines.

Water exercises

Do you have pool access? If so, there are many water resistance exercises to help you stretch and release tension while in the water. There are also many exercises to help you build muscle using water resistance.

Water-resistance gloves are fun to use when you start noticing progress. One benefit of this is getting much needed fresh air and Vitamin D. However, sunscreen is a necessity. Reapplication per the sun screen’s direction is crucial to avoid sun damage. You’ll also want to keep a hydrating beverage nearby. Just because you’re in the water, you will still sweat.

Store walking

This is probably my favorite tip to participate in. You don’t have to go to a store and buy something. This is something I’ve had to drill into my mother-in-law’s head. She would feel compelled to buy multiple things to justify being there but have regret after. First off, stores are air-conditioned. This is especially helpful during the hottest days of Florida’s summers. Second, certain stores are known for having shopping carts (aka buggies). These are great if you have mobility or balance issues.

Favorite stores to stroll in, even when I don’t need to purchase something, are big box stores. My nephew affectionately calls one, “the circle store,” because of its bullseye logo. Another store I fancy walking in is a certain Swedish store known for its furniture’s difficult-to-read instructions.

Air conditioning and carts aren’t the only reasons I chose these stores as places to get steps in. The fact that they usually keep their bathrooms clean is another reason.

Sure you could go to a gym. But if you can’t afford a membership or are concerned about germs, these are great alternatives on how to get moving. With Crohn’s disease along with other inflammatory diseases, and speaking from personal experience, it’s so important to not be idle.

Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know how you like to get moving with Crohn’s.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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