About bowels Lifestyle and your bowels Exercise and IBS Stress is a leading trigger of IBS symptoms. Nerves in the colon control contraction of bowel muscles to keep things moving, but in times of stress this can cause abdominal pain. Exercise has been shown to help keep your digestive system working properly and may even decrease the occurrence of constipation, a common symptom of IBS. A recent study showed that IBS patients who performed moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, reported that their constipation symptoms had significantly improved, compared with a group that did not participate in the programme. According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate exercise feels somewhat hard. The signs you should look out for at this intensity level are: Your breathing quickens, but you're not out of breath. You develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity. You can carry on a conversation, but you can't sing. For stress, Tai Chi and meditation have long been known to help relax muscles and mind. Find out more about mindfulness, including meditation or find local classes for Tai Chi.