Staying active with Short Bowel Syndrome
By planning ahead, people living with SBS can find ways to stay active and involved, even when dependent on parenteral support a large amount of the time.
Staying active indoors
If your condition requires you to stay close to home, consider starting a new hobby or pursuing an interest you had put aside, such as writing, painting, scrapbooking, knitting, taking an online course or playing an instrument. Consider volunteering from home for a cause you feel passionate about. By carrying your parenteral support with you in a backpack or modifying your house to access the equipment you need to have handy, you can be less confined to one area.
Connect with the SBS community to share ideas for staying active and to build relationships with others who can understand your situation. Some people find it rewarding to publicly share the challenges and triumphs of living with SBS; you can read about their experiences on The Oley Foundation website or start your own online journal or blog on a site such as CaringBridge.
Exercise while living with SBS
Besides being good for your health, exercise can help you feel more confident and in control of your body. Before beginning a new exercise routine, talk to your doctor about the level of activity that’s right for your situation. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Walking is one of the safest forms of exercise. The more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits. Walking is good for your heart, strengthens your bones and can lift your mood . Consider taking a short walk for a daily time of reflection and gratitude. If you need to stay close to a restroom, consider investing in a home treadmill or other exercise equipment.
Yoga has become increasingly popular with people of nearly all ages and fitness levels. It can enhance positive awareness of your body, reduce stress and increase strength. Yoga can be practiced almost any time, anywhere. If yoga isn’t for you, consider light stretching or strength training with light hand weights or a medicine ball to build or maintain muscle mass.
If you plan to participate in competitive or recreational sports, consult with your doctor beforehand and take care that your body is getting the hydration and nutrients it needs during exertion.
Some people managing SBS with IV fluids and nutrition decide to give up swimming because of risk of infection. Although swimming is one of the best forms of low impact exercise and benefits the heart and muscles, speak with your physician before you make plans to swim. People with SBS who use an IV or are tube-fed may be able to swim once the catheter site has healed as long as they avoid a poor quality water source and perform site care immediately after swimming. Swimming is normally safe in a well-maintained, private pool that is not used by pets. Large impermeable dressings can be used to cover certain types of lines. Types of water that should be avoided include lakes, ponds and hot tubs.