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Our top tips for exercise as an ostomate – getting active in the summer

There is no better place than being outdoors in summer, so why not enjoy some exercise too.

It’s not only good for your mental health and wellbeing, it also improves circulation, helps with concentration, increases vitamin D intake from the sunshine and new research has shown that walking through the woods can even reduce your blood pressure!

With all of these health benefits, it’s important not to let having a stoma stop you from venturing out over the next few months.

After stoma surgery, the first few weeks and months may be difficult as it takes time to heal and adjust to having a stoma, but it is important to do gentle exercises such as walking. Once your strength has returned, you should be able enjoy exercise as you did before the operation. Gain advice from your surgeon or stoma nurse and check it is safe, before you are too adventurous.

Below are some of the ways in which you can exercise and how to do exercise safely…

Walking & outdoor exercise

Start with walking regularly and on a daily basis as this will help regain muscle strength which may have been lost whilst recovering from stoma surgery. Believe it or not, walking also helps prevent any issues with constipation.

Whatever sports you have played in the past, you may enjoy them again with some adaptations, but it’s very important to build your strength up first. Try some walks you haven’t been on before, explore the beautiful countryside. 

Make sure you don’t do any heavy lifting in the weeks immediately following surgery. Unless the surgery was done laparoscopically, the abdominal walls will have been weakened by incisions and must be given time to heal. 

Gym & indoor exercise

Gyms are great as you can pick and choose which classes you would like to try or you can hire a personal trainer to help with your regular exercise regime. Remember to avoid any abdominal exercise for a while until you have slowly built up these muscles.


Swimming is a great form of exercise as it is not only a cardiovascular workout but it helps with toning your muscles too. If you are worried about your stoma bag leaking whilst you are swimming, you can speak to your stoma nurse for advice or check out our advice on swimming with a stoma. There are also tailor made swimwear for ostomates which helps many people to feel more secure and less conscious.

Pilates & Yoga

Both of these forms of exercise are fantastic for building core strength in a controlled and safe way. It might be worth speaking to your stoma nurse about a support garment to help protect your abdominal muscles.


Gardening is an activity which you can choose to do anytime you like. It is also energetic, so don’t be surprised if you are tired afterwards! What’s more, since the Garden Centres are starting to open again, now is the perfect time to enjoy a bit of gardening in the nice weather. Remember to be careful when lifting any heavy plant pots and be sure to take things slowly.

Additional tips:

  • Look at making the exercise a regular activity as you are more likely to stick at it.
  • Try to stick to the same time of day, so it becomes part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and footwear.
  • Keep a little bag of accessories (stoma pouch etc) in the car or with you in case an ‘emergency’ appliance change is needed!

For more exercise and activity advice, visit our handy advice centre.

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