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, 19 (1), 115

Structured Physical Activity Interventions as a Complementary Therapy for Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease - A Scoping Review and Practical Implications


Structured Physical Activity Interventions as a Complementary Therapy for Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease - A Scoping Review and Practical Implications

Katharina G Eckert et al. BMC Gastroenterol.


Background: Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) also suffer from a wide range of additional disorders, which may be caused by the disease, the side effect of the medication, or a lack of physical activity (PA). This results in reduced physical and psychological wellbeing. However, as known from other chronic diseases exercise could be utilized as supportive therapy for IBD patients. Main goals of this article are (a) collecting data of the effects structured physical activity interventions have on validated clinical parameters of IBD and health related symptoms, (b) developing activity recommendations for this clientele.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted, searching for relevant articles published until May 2018, which investigated the effects of structured exercise interventions in IBD patients. The heterogeneity of the outcomes and the interventions did not support a quantitative synthesis thus, a qualitative discussion of the studies is provided.

Results: After reviewing 353 records, 13 eligible articles were identified. Five studies investigated aerobic exercise, three studies resistance exercise, three studies mind-body therapies and two studies yoga. The quality of the studies is mixed, and the duration is rather short for exercise interventions. Only few studies assessed validated IBD activity markers or inflammatory biomarkers. Nevertheless, the patients showed an increase in fitness, bone mineral density (BMD), quality of life and a decrease of IBD induced stress and anxiety. No severe adversial events were reported.

Conclusion: Even though the evidence is limited the application of exercise interventions in IBD patients can be assumed to be safe and beneficial for the patients' overall-health, and IBD specific physical and psychosocial symptoms. But there is still a high demand for more thoroughly conducted studies, focussing on important clinical outcome parameters.

Keywords: Disease activity; Disease management; Inflammatory bowel disease; Physical activity intervention.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Flow diagram of literature search and study selection
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Possible clinical, physical and psychological effects of PA in IB

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