Research shows HIIT could benefit adults with Crohn’s

04 February 2019

New research funded by Crohn's & Colitis UK has found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could benefit people with Crohn’s Disease.

It shows that high intensity and moderate intensity exercise programmes are a useful therapy and lifestyle behaviour for adults with Crohn’s Disease.

The research, led by the University of Hertfordshire, is the first ever study to test and demonstrate the feasibility of HIIT in adults with Crohn's.

Until now, only low intensity to moderate intensity exercise had been studied with adults with Crohn’s. This meant that medical teams often don't know what to recommend patients in terms of exercise they can do safely without a flare-up, leading to some patients being told that they should not exercise at all.


I have suffered with Crohn’s disease for 24 years and therefore this study was very personal for me to undertake. This study is the first of its kind and we hope to continue our research in the future to get a better understanding of the response to exercise in patients with Crohn’s Disease and how it effects their quality of life.

Dr Lindsay Bottoms
Research Lead for Sport, Health and Exercise, University of Hertfordshire

During the study both male and female participants between 16 and 65 years of age with a diagnosis of Crohn’s were allocated to one of three groups.

One group was a control group who did not receive any supervised exercise or exercise advice as part of the trial, another did moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) and the final group did HIIT.

The study found that both the cycle-based HIIT and MICT programmes had good attendance figures and positive feedback, with no participants reporting exercise causing a worsening of their symptoms.


We are delighted to have funded Dr Bottoms' research into exercising with Crohn’s. Exercising is a topic that our supporters often have queries about and this study allows us to provide some answers. Helping patients live well with their condition is of huge importance to us and these promising results lay the groundwork for improving lives today.

Helen Terry
Director of Research, Crohn's & Colitis UK

This research is good news for practioners, as exercise has been showed to improve quality of life and have positive effects on mood, self-esteem, sleep quality and energy.

We are only able to fund research like this thanks to our generous donors and amazing fundraisers. Thank you so much for your support.

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Read the full paper here.