If you live with Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder that impacts your entire gastrointestinal tract and causes myriad physical and mental complications, life can be tough. The last thing you may feel like doing is exercising, especially during a flare-up. But exercising while living with Crohn’s can help prevent your next flare-up by reducing stress, strengthening your immune system, and increasing your endorphins.
If you’re on the hunt for some inspiration to get you started on your fitness journey, look no further than your Instagram app. From body builders and NBA stars to outdoor adventurers and models, check out these fitness #crohnies who encourage others living with Crohn’s to get up and get fit!
1. peter_n_nielsen (Peter Nielsen)
Peter N. Nielsen, diagnosed with Crohn’s when he was 15, is the creator and host of the syndicated TV and radio show Peter’s Principles, which chronicles his lifelong commitment to achieving physical and spiritual health. He’s since won over 50 international bodybuilding awards and is a national spokesman for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
2. dallassrae (Dallas Rae)
Dallas Rae is a personal trainer, nutritional therapist, and fitness professional. Diagnosed with Crohn’s when she was only 9, Dallas devotes her life to sharing her bodybuilding journey online and raising awareness to help find a cure for the disease.
3. jennuhnicole (Jenna Pettit)
That is one impressive pose! Now don’t be too intimidated by Jenna Pettit’s balancing act. Her Instagram account is full of aerobic exercises at varying degrees of difficulty to guide you on your fitness journey. Her passion to make a difference in the lives of others through health and wellness coaching is an inspiration to help us all obtain a happy and healthier lifestyle.
4. larrydn7 (Larry Nance Jr.)
Larry Donnell Nance Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Standing at a towering 6'8", Larry dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps and joining the NBA. However, Larry was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 16 and put his basketball dreams on hold. But after getting on the right medical and fitness regimen, he was able to “bounce” back and work his way up to the NBA. Now, he shares his experience with others in interviews and on his social media to send some positivity to other Crohn’s patients.
5. muscles.n.mascara (Elle Mac)
Elle Mac is an award-winning bodybuilding and figure competitor. She frequently shares her workouts with stories from her more difficult times while living with Crohn’s. Her posts are always chock full of nutritional and fitness advice. But it’s her tips on how to stay positive and overcome complications from Crohn’s that really pack a punch.
6. sapranothegr8 (Theodore Merriweather Jr.)
Theodore Merriweather Jr. hits the gym hard, and you can tell by his frequent gym selfies on his Instagram page.
When he’s not in the gym or working on making his music, he runs his nonprofit, Crohn’s No More. His main goal is to raise awareness of the illness and offer alternative methods to reduce the pain and suffering caused by Crohn’s and IBD.
7. bikingwithostomy (Christian Meijer)
A competitive cyclist, Christian Meijer hasn’t let his 2009 Crohn’s diagnosis or his 2012 colostomy procedure stop him from his love of the outdoors. He shares stretches and workouts on his Instagram page and chronicles his challenges and achievements of Crohn’s, ostomy bags, and cycling on his blog.
8. jaminthompson (Jamin Thompson)
Jamin Thompson is an actor and model who has appeared in several leading fitness magazines and commercials for Nike, Reebok, ESPN, and more. His story of overcoming Crohn’s disease and subsequent bought of depression in 2001 has helped him become an inspiration for people across the world. He currently writes to help people gain the confidence to push past their limitations and go after their dreams.
Michael Kasian is a features editor at Healthline who is focused on sharing the stories of others living with invisible illnesses, as he himself lives with Crohn’s.Read more in Crohn's Disease Resources