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  Last updated: 12/06/2009

The Athlete and the GI System
Benefits of Exercise on the Gastrointestinal System

We all know about the positive protective effects of exercise on cardiovascular disease. There is also convincing scientific evidence that regular exercise has a positive effect on overall health as well as many other chronic conditions - perhaps by increasing the general sense of "well being". But having said that, it is important to realize that there may be a level of activity above which " is less" i.e. more vigorous activity becomes less beneficial as short term negatives begin to outweigh health benefit positives.

We have been discussing the negative effects (and symptoms) of exercise on the digestive system. Now let's take a look at the benefits of exercise - disease prevention and rehabilitation in those with pre existing chronic GI diseases. (For those of you not familiar with the term relative risk (RR), it indicates your risk of the disease state compared to someone that does not exercise regularly. For example, if your RR is 0.5, you have 1/2 the chance of being affected. If it is 0.33, 1/3 - and so on.

I. There is clear proof of:

II. Less proven, but with suggestive evidence are:

Next section - Strategies to Minimize Gastrointestinal Symptoms with Exercise

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