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Pilates Nuances for Those with IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that can cause a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel movements. For those with IBS, engaging in exercise can be challenging, as certain movements can trigger symptoms. However, Pilates can be a gentle form of exercise that can help alleviate symptoms of IBS while also improving overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Here are some nuances to consider when practicing Pilates with IBS:

  1. Start Slowly: For those with IBS, it is important to start slowly when beginning a Pilates practice. Pilates exercises that involve sudden or rapid movements, such as jumping or twisting, can trigger symptoms. It is important to listen to your body and start with gentle movements that do not exacerbate symptoms.

  2. Focus on Breathing: Breathing is an essential component of Pilates, and can be especially beneficial for those with IBS. Mindful breathing can help reduce stress and tension in the body, which can help alleviate symptoms. Pilates exercises that focus on breathing, such as the Hundred or the Roll-Up, can be particularly beneficial for those with IBS.

  3. Modify Exercises: Pilates exercises can be modified to suit individual needs and abilities. For those with IBS, it may be helpful to modify exercises that involve excessive abdominal pressure, such as the Teaser or the Plank. Instead, focus on exercises that engage the core muscles without putting pressure on the abdomen, such as the Bridge or the Side Plank.

  4. Pay Attention to Hydration: Staying hydrated is important for overall health and can be particularly beneficial for those with IBS. Dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of IBS, so it is important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after Pilates practice.

  5. Avoid Trigger Foods: Certain foods can trigger symptoms of IBS, so it is important to avoid these foods before Pilates practice. Common trigger foods include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and high-fat foods.

  6. Seek Professional Guidance: For those with IBS, it can be helpful to seek guidance from a qualified Pilates instructor or healthcare professional. They can help tailor a Pilates practice to suit individual needs and abilities, and can offer modifications or alternative exercises to avoid triggering symptoms.

In summary, Pilates can be a gentle and effective form of exercise for those with IBS. By starting slowly, focusing on breathing, modifying exercises, paying attention to hydration, avoiding trigger foods, and seeking professional guidance, those with IBS can enjoy the benefits of Pilates while minimizing the risk of triggering symptoms.