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Keeping active during lockdown when you have a stoma

We all know just how beneficial exercise is for our physical and mental health, particularly given the current situation we find ourselves in. With gyms and all sports venues now forced to close until the beginning of December, exercising at home is now the only option. When you have a stoma, it’s vital that you make sure you are exercising safely to avoid hurting yourself. 

We’ve put together some advice below on how to exercise safely from home. 

Doctor’s Orders

Firstly, you must only start physical activity once you feel up to it and you’ve been given the green light by your doctor. This will keep you safe and ensure you don’t create more problems for yourself down the line. There is no set time limit following surgery when you’ll be safe to begin some light exercise, so make sure you take your doctor or stoma nurses advice.

One of the main risks to ostomates when exercising is parastomal hernias, so it’s vital that you take some precautions to make sure your physical activity doesn’t further increase this risk. Stoma belts are great for giving you the support you need to keep safe while you exercise, however, it’s also important to gradually strengthen your abdominal muscles to help with such problems. Again, listen to your doctors advice regarding this, you can find out more about stoma hernias here.

Make sure you keep yourself hydrated when you are exercising!

Exercise ideas for ostomates.

With gyms and sports facilities all closed, we all find ourselves in a position whereby the forms of exercise we can do are limited. We’ve listed some of the ways in which you can exercise safely as an ostomate below:

Get those steps in

Walking is one of the best things that you can do following stoma surgery, once you have received the green light from your doctor. So, this lockdown, wrap up and go for a walk. You could take a family member or someone from your household or one person from another household. 

If you are in a position whereby you are shielding during this pandemic, you can always walk somewhere you know is quiet, or even drive to a quiet spot for your walk. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, you could even walk around your garden if possible.

Core strength is key 

We hear over and over about how important our core is but it’s even more essential when you have a stoma. Your abdominal muscles will be weakened significantly following stoma surgery, so it’s vital that you begin to rebuild this strength.

To get started, try some simple light core exercises that don’t risk injury. You could begin with some simple pelvic tilts or activating your core whilst lying down. Your stoma nurse will be able to advise on some exercises to do to rebuild your strength.

Jobs around the house

While it isn’t classed as a form of exercise by most, doing certain jobs around your home such as cleaning, gardening or hoovering is effective in getting you moving and feeling productive. So, during this lockdown, try doing a bit of light housework. Of course, the level of housework that you feel up to will depend on the amount of time that has passed following your surgery. 

Other forms of exercise for when lockdown ends 

There are many forms of exercise that are suitable for ostomates. So, when things go back to normal, why not try getting into a fitness routine if you aren’t in one already? Forms of exercise you can do include swimming, bike riding, going to the gym, no-contact sports and jogging. If you do wish to participate in contact sports, make sure you’re well prepared and speak to your stoma nurse to make sure it wouldn’t be a risk to your health. Find out more about exercising with a stoma here.

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