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How to workout when underweight and in a flare? Please help

Hi everyone, this is my first time on this site and I am hoping to find some advice.

I am 22 and just recently got diagnosed with Crohns disease. Before crohns and my flares, I was very active and healthy, I loved working out during HIIT, running, ab and leg workouts, and yoga.

However lately I have been flaring up so badly. It is hard to eat anything at all and I have lost a lot of weight. I am 5'6 and weigh about 90 lbs. My bmi is around 14. I am finding it difficult to not only workout, but even daily walking around and working absolutely exhausts me. I try to workout but my body is just so tired and weak and I can't find the strength.

I really want to be able to go back to eating healthy and being able to be active and workout. Everywhere I read online says to gain weight healthy you have to also workout and give your body good nutrition but it's hard to do when I am so weak I cant workout and it's hard to eat. I've been trying to do low impact exercises, yoga, and light body weight exercises and I started drinking protein powder/nutritional shakes to get some calories and nutrition.

Does anyone have any ideas? I am feeling so helpless.


Staff member
Working out while in a flare can be counterproductive. Your body needs major amounts of energy to fight your disease right now. I would try to find a way, along with your doctor, to get yourself effective treatment. Once you are in remission then you work out, for now just do what you need to and try to get healthier on the inside. You have my support, I lost a lot of weight before and I manged to put it back on. I hope you can too.
Hard to workout when in a bad flare. I think the first step is to talk with md about getting things under control. In the meantime, maybe you can just try going for walks, or a few arm exercises.
Welcome jessiejames,
Getting yourself well is your top concern at the moment- I would suggest contacting a dietician to get on some supplement drinks (I am currently on Modulen IDB for 8 weeks) and your IDB specialst asap, you need a lot of support to get yourself well and feed your body back up. Once you have the disease under more control and are putting on some weight then you can think of more intense workouts like HIIT..i myself live for the gym and keeping fit but have learnt when to slow down and stop to give my body the chance to heal itself when flaring..maybe you could try a short few minutes yoga session at home and very short walls not to tax your body any more than it is at the moment. I have built myself back up from skin and bone so it is achievable but please do not rush in to excercise when your flaring/so ill, as it will take you much longer to get well..I have overdone it many times myself in the past and now realise other normal peoples "healthy diet and excercise" just does not fit us when we are flaring or in need of repair.
Lots of rest, take breaks frequently, before you are tired, do low impact work, just get your blood moving, don't do anything that makes you huff and puff or strain. Get a pedal machine, yoga works too.

Do 5 minutes every hour or so if you need to.

Your body is sick, exercise is good for crohn's though and you need to keep your blood flowing, but your goal isn't to improve your conditioning at this point, or to build muscle, it's just the benefits your body gets from the exercise, and you don't need to go super hard to get that.

Sit on the side of the couch and just raise your feet for several sets, then rest.

Do some slow air boxing, stand up and turn your waist back and forth slow and steady for several minutes.
Hi Everyone, i just wanted to truly thank you all for the support, kind words and suggestions.
I have been trying to take it easy just doing some light yoga here and there and focusing on managing my flare.

Thank you everyone :)