Perceptions, behaviours and barriers towards exercise practices in inflammatory bowel disease

Sinclair, Jonathan Kenneth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2231-3732, Brooks-Warburton, Johanne and Bottoms, Lindsay (2024) Perceptions, behaviours and barriers towards exercise practices in inflammatory bowel disease. PLOS ONE, 19 (4).

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic disease affecting the digestive tract, has a significant impact on health-related quality of life. Pharmaceutical treatment is typically adopted, yet exercise is increasingly becoming recognized as an adjunct therapy. This study aimed to explore the perspectives, behaviours, and barriers of IBD patients in terms of their exercise habits. A 16-item closed-ended questionnaire was completed by 463 adult IBD patients (Ulcerative colitis = 57.02%, Crohn’s dis-ease = 40.60% and Other = 2.38%) (Female = 76.67%, Male = 22.46 and Non-binary = 0.86%). The questionnaire was divided into three sections: baseline/demographic characteristics, disease characteristics, and exercise perceptions, beliefs, and behaviours. Significantly (P<0.001) more participants (63.07%) reported that they engage regularly with exercise compared to those who do not; however, engagement was significantly lower in female patients (59.72%) compared to males (74.04%). Respondents also rated significantly (P<0.001) that a combination of factors prevents engagement in exercise (74.30%). Moderate intensity exercise was the predominant (P<0.001) aerobic modality (39.04%), the majority (P<0.001) response was that patients undertake no resistance training (27.74%), and significantly more (P<0.001) patients indicated that they don’t know whether resistance training can influence IBD either positively (57.53%) or negatively (62.33%). Whilst it is encouraging that IBD patients are engaging regularly with exercise, the reduced levels of engagement in females and lack of knowledge/ engagement with resistance training, indicate that future implementation and educational developments are necessary to enhance exercise in females and resistance training engagement in all IBD patients.

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