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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 429031, 14 pages
Review Article

The Role of Physical Exercise in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

1Department of Ergonomics and Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 31-531 Cracow, Poland
2Gastroenterology Clinic, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 31-501 Cracow, Poland
3Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine Jagiellonian University Medical College, 31-531 Cracow, Poland

Received 1 January 2014; Revised 25 February 2014; Accepted 5 March 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Lars L. Andersen

Copyright © 2014 Jan Bilski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We reviewed and analyzed the relationship between physical exercise and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which covers a group of chronic, relapsing, and remitting intestinal disorders including Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis. The etiology of IBD likely involves a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental risk factors. Physical training has been suggested to be protective against the onset of IBD, but there are inconsistencies in the findings of the published literature. Hypertrophy of the mesenteric white adipose tissue (mWAT) is recognized as a characteristic feature of CD, but its importance for the perpetuation of onset of this intestinal disease is unknown. Adipocytes synthesize proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Hypertrophy of mWAT could play a role as a barrier to the inflammatory process, but recent data suggest that deregulation of adipokine secretion is involved in the pathogenesis of CD. Adipocytokines and macrophage mediators perpetuate the intestinal inflammatory process, leading to mucosal ulcerations along the mesenteric border, a typical feature of CD. Contracting skeletal muscles release biologically active myokines, known to exert the direct anti-inflammatory effects, and inhibit the release of proinflammatory mediators from visceral fat. Further research is required to confirm these observations and establish exercise regimes for IBD patients.