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Post-Operative Exercise

Hopefully you have all been able to get out and about during this warm weather. Here's some tips to keep healthy while exercising.

Older couple walking

It is a good idea to start normal day to day activities, such as walking, when possible.  Walking is a gentle exercise that you can build up gradually at a pace that suits you.  If you are walking or cycling you may wish to take a small supplies bag with you just to be prepared.  It is also advisable to take some water as if you have a stoma, in particular an illeostomy, you may become more easily dehydrated. 

Exercise has many benefits such as giving you more energy, toning your body and lose of excess weight not to mention a stronger heart and better circulation, which lead to all round better health.  It is advisable to talk through an exercise program with your doctor before starting any physical activity.

Taking up sports after your recovery period should be a gradual process and you should talk to your stoma nurse about advice on how to avoid a hernia.  Ways to avoid getting a hernia include gentle abdominal exercises and managing your weight.  If you already have a hernia, an Eakin Support Belt may help you care for your hernia.

For contact sports, it is advisable to always wear a stoma shield to protect the stoma.  For extra security you may wish to use clothing with a firmer waistband or a belt to help hold the pouch in place.

You may get a newfound ambition to pursue a new activity after your operation but remember to take things slowly, do not push yourself too hard too quickly and consult your stoma nurse for further advice.

Swimming is a great form of gentle exercise to try once you are out of your initial recovery period.  You can start off at whatever pace suits you and can build it up once your body is up to it.  You can swim by yourself or with friends or family and even turn it into a social event.

There are smaller sized pouches available such as the Pelican mini sized pouches that some ostmates find more comfortable for swimming.  Alternatively a colostomate may even be able to use a Pelican Select Minuet Stoma Cap or Stoma Cap Plus instead of their normal pouch.

You may find that you need to shop around to find swimwear that you are comfortable in.  For women, a patterned 1 piece perhaps even with a bow or design with extra material around the abdomen may be comfortable.  Alternatively tankinis may also work for you and sarongs are also a good option for the beach.  For men, high-waisted shorts are a good option to try.  Like many issues you will face, each person is different so wear what you feel comfortable.  Even try getting into the shower in your swimsuit before going swimming in public to see how it looks when wet.