Enjoying the great outdoors with Gut Health issues:
Enjoying the outdoors can be done during any season. Even during flare-ups there are ways for those with IBS or IBD to make it work - with careful planning and preparation, living with gut health issues does not mean that you cannot live an active and full life. Here is how you can manage the unpredictable nature of IBS and IBD in the great outdoors, while still being able to enjoy nature.
Understand your health routine:
Spending time outdoors requires that you are aware of how your health is, as there could be long distances between rest stops, changes in weather, and possible overexertion. Over time you may learn what your health routine/plan would look like before doing an outdoor physical activity. Questions to ask yourself are..
- What is my diet like?
- What medications do I need?
- What is my usual restroom routine?
- How often do I need a break?
Pack your bag thoroughly:
Maintaining your energy and health through food, water, and medications is what will keep you physically active while spending time outdoors. If you need medications while doing activities outside here are some methods of packing:
- Pack more than you think you need incase your out longer than expected or is some become damaged
- Store them in a waterproof container
- Keep them stored in its temperature recommended range
While traveling outdoors, also keep in mind maintaining your diet:
- Pack high-protein options
- Packed enough foods in order to eat more calories than typically during an activity. This is in case you are out longer than expected, need more fuel than expected, if some of the food becomes damaged beyond eating, or if you need to give some to others.
- Stick to known foods that have been in your diet before
To keep hydrated:
- Pack water with electrolytes
- For long activities or hikes try packing an extra pack of water or use recycled water bottles that can hold 1 liter each.
Having water is crucial especially during the extreme cold and hot months which can cause dehydration. To that note, try setting alarms and plan for hydration breaks.
Travel with the right person:
Those you may be traveling with should be aware or have some knowledge of IBS and or IBD. They should be able to keep reminders on medications and needed breaks. In the instances where you don’t feel well, having a friend or family member with you to cheer you on or help you when needed can be thoughtful, while enjoying the great outdoors despite having gut health issues.