Exercising with an Ostomy
Just because you have an ostomy, you do not need to stop exercising. People with ostomies run, swim, do yoga, etc. They even engage in more strenuous activities such as martial arts and weight lifting. Once you recover from ostomy surgery and start thinking about resuming your normal exercise routine, here are some things to keep in mind.
After surgery, your abdomen will be more vulnerable to hernias, especially around the stoma. With the right strengthening and support, it is possible to exercise after surgery but you should make sure you talk to your doctor before starting.
Since a primary concern an ostomy is hernia prevention, it’s best to address the challenge in every way that you can. The most important things you can do include gradual strengthening, using good form and posture, and wearing an ostomy support belt.
Note that there are many support belts and other garments out there. The thin straps offered by the large ostomy supply companies are not adequate for vigorous exercise. You need a belt that fully encloses and supports your ostomy pouch like a ComfortBelt or a Stealthbelt.
When you first leave the hospital, it will take a few weeks - or in some cases months - before physical exercise becomes safe. Once your doctor gives you the ok to start working out, it is best to take things slowly and start light. We recommend the first couple of weeks of activity include core strengthening and long walks.
A safe way to re-strengthen your core is to look for post-natal exercises designed for women who have had C-sections. These exercises are designed to work out your core in a way that is safe. Trish Massart wrote an outstanding article about getting your core strength back after ostomy surgery. Trish is also a nutrition expert and provides great information on her website ITB Nutrition.
Good form while exercising is critical for the prevention of injury. To learn more about the important of posture and form, check out Collin Jarvis’s blog.
Another great source of info from a very impressive young woman is Molly's article about returning to physical activity after ostomy surgery.
All of our adjustable ComfortBelts and Stealth Belts are considered peristomal hernia support belts, The Stealth Belt Pro is great for general exercise.
Stealth Belt also makes custom Hernia Support Belts. These belts are normally made for those who already have hernias but people at greater risk of hernias frequently purchases them too as a preventative measure. Our hernia ostomy support belts have a stronger material around the stoma to apply more pressure. Learn more about our Hernia Support Belts here.