Please note: you should always consult with your healthcare professional before attempting any exercise to ensure they feel you are safe to do so.
Getting regular exercise can be incredibly beneficial for people with a stoma, although some forms of exercise do present extra problems. No matter what exercise you’re doing, it’s important to start slow and build your stamina up, try not to overexert yourself needlessly. This will also depend on the stage of recovery you’re at.
Here are four types of exercise that are recommended for ostomates:
Walking and running are your most basic types of endurance exercise and they’re fantastic for building stamina and fitness. As an added bonus, they can also help to reduce the chance of constipation. Take things at your own pace and start slowly over shorter distances and slowly build up once you’re comfortable.
Many think core exercises will be off the table, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s highly likely you will need to start rebuilding strength in your core and abdominal wall after stoma surgery. Traditional sit ups and crunches may be challenging and impractical for ostomates, so instead maybe try pelvic tilts, hip lifts and knee rolls, which should achieve the same results in a safer way.
Balance and Flexibility
Yoga, tai chi and pilates are smooth forms of exercise that are also very demanding. These are perfect for building core strength and indeed your entire body without the need for any heavy lifting. All exercise in balance and flexibility type classes is based on body weight and a slower pace, which ostomates may be more comfortable with.
Swimming is an incredible exercise that has both cardio and strength benefits, whilst remaining gentle and putting very little to no strain on your stoma. Of course, you will need to prepare and ensure your stoma bag is empty and secure before entering the pool.