Cycling is a great form of exercise that allows you to keep fit and work to an intensity that’s right for you. While you may be slightly nervous to hop back on your bike following stoma surgery, as long as you take your time and follow some of the tips below as well as listening to the advice of your healthcare professional, there’s no reason why you can’t get back in the saddle and enjoy your bike rides again.
For many people, cycling is part of their daily routine, whether it’s to get to work or just for the fun of it. Below we have some tips on how you can still enjoy cycling without causing yourself any harm after your stoma surgery.
Make yourself feel at ease
Firstly, it’s important that you do what you can to take away any worries you may have at the back of your mind, particularly if you’ve only recently been given the all-clear from your healthcare professional to exercise. Initially, you may want to cycle close to home and areas that you know well. It’s a good idea to make sure you know where the nearest toilets are just in case you need them.
Another thing that can help to ease any anxiety you may have is to cycle with someone. Whether it’s a friend or family member, it can help knowing someone is there in case you need them. An exercise partner can also help you stay motivated!
If you are still worried, you could always start by using an exercise bike at the gym or at home just to get you back into the swing of things!
Taking care of your stoma bag
When exercising, the sweat we produce can have an effect on the adhesion of stoma bags. So try to apply your stoma bag at least thirty minutes before you set off on your bike ride. This is just to allow it to properly adhere to your skin before you start sweating.
If your bag dangles slightly and touches your leg, the pedalling movement may sometimes cause chafing which can be uncomfortable and obviously not ideal for enjoying your bike ride. Wearing a stoma belt or tight-fitting cycle wear can help to keep your bag in place and prevent it from moving around and causing any soreness. Be careful! If your cycle wear is too tight, this could cause pancaking so, ideally, your cycling shorts should be tight enough to hold your bag but stretchy enough to allow the bag to fill.
After a few bike rides, you should start to figure out what works best for you in terms of looking after your stoma bag, so don’t worry.
Making sure you’re as comfortable as possible
After stoma surgery, it’s particularly important to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible when sat on your bike. Try out a few different saddles to find the one that works best for you and helps you enjoy your ride without any pain or discomfort. And try a few different styles of cycling shorts until you find the ones that provide enough support and padding.
Make sure you keep hydrated
This is important no matter what form of exercise you’re doing, remember, the liquid that you lose through sweating needs to be replaced. Keeping hydrated is key to maintaining consistency in your stoma output and preventing dehydration. Getting a bottle holder that attaches to your bike is a great way to make sure you always have a drink to hand without it causing any inconvenience. Whilst on your route, take a break every now and have a quick drink.
Work your way up
The last thing you want to do post stoma surgery is to jump straight back into long and challenging bike rides. Start slowly with a gentle cycle and then gradually increase the distance, time and intensity of your routes.
Once you get to a point when you’re travelling a fair distance on your bike, make sure you’ve got a small backpack with you with some stoma supplies in case you need them.
And enjoy your bike ride!
You can find out more about exercising with a stoma here.
Using a drainable bag allows you to empty ‘mid-ride’ easily and two-piece systems can also be a more convenient option.
Our Microskin® bags use the thinnest wafer available which is flexible, moulding readily to your body shape.
Our Primo® drainable bags boast outstanding adhesion and the perfect fit for maximum security. Ideal for active lifestyles.