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Festival of Winter Walks – The Benefits of Walking When you Have a Stoma

21st December 2020

Walking is a great form of exercise,  it is good for the mind, body and soul! There is nothing more enjoyable than getting wrapped up in the winter weather and stepping out into the frosty air to blow away the cobwebs. Having a stoma shouldn’t restrict you from enjoying the great outdoors and walking is an exercise you can slowly build up over time or you can enjoy a longer walk to admire the winter scenery.

If you have recently had surgery, it would be wise to speak with your Consultant before venturing out on long walks. You may feel very tired during the first 6 weeks after surgery, always listen to your body and rest when you need to.  It may be wise to start with walking round your home and garden, for the first few weeks to gain confidence before venturing out. Just remember that when you are out walking, you have the return journey also, so take it slow and steady and increase the distance week by week, so it is gradual and you feel confident you can do it.

Start with walking regularly and on a daily basis. Walking will help regain muscle strength which may have been lost whilst having stoma surgery. Believe it or not, walking also helps prevent any issues with constipation! Take a friend or family member from within your support bubble with you, then you can pace yourself together. Make sure you wrap up warm and wear appropriate footwear as it can be very slippery outdoors with the mud, frost and ice.

If you are an avid walker and feel fitter to go further, don’t forget to take some water to keep hydrated and a piece of fruit or sandwich to keep your energy levels up. Make sure not to carry a heavy rucksack, which may put too much weight and strain on your abdominal area where you have had surgery.

The benefits of walking outdoors:

  • The first one is that it is free!
  • Catching a glimpse of the winter sun helps boost your Vitamin D levels
  • A long brisk walk is as good as a run when it comes to lowering blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and weight loss. It’s the total energy which counts.
  • Walks in the country have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and raise self-esteem.
  • Taking regular strolls can help with any joint problems because it is low impact and prevents stiffness and swelling.

Walking in the winter can be far better for burning off calories than in more mild weather conditions. Trudging through mud, snow and wind will use more energy. So prepare your winter body for the Christmas food indulgence, by getting out in the fresh air which will clear your mind and reduce stress. It is an exercise which can be done in isolation, listen to your favourite podcast or catch up with a friend each week. Enjoy watching the wildlife, finding animal tracks in the snow and the stunning winter scenery that the UK has to offer.

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