After ostomy surgery, your first thoughts may be focused on what life will be like with your new ostomy. First, you’ll learn how to care for your stoma. Plus, you’ll need to figure out which ostomy products fit you best. However, once you’ve fully healed, you’ll likely be ready to get back to normal life and physical activity.
But what options for exercise do you have now that you’re living with an ostomy? As it turns out, plenty!
Can I lift weights with an ostomy?
The short answer is yes, but only with your doctor’s approval. Even then, it’s important to start back into physical activity slowly with a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy.
For example, if you’ve been living with a condition like Crohn’s Disease, your body’s muscles may have wasted due to malnutrition. This is because a gut with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is not always able to properly absorb nutrients, which can cause weight loss, fatigue, and more. With your new ostomy, you’ll hopefully begin to feel better, gain more energy, and have a nutritious diet.
That having been said, you may not be able to lift as heavy of weights as you did before your illness. Or you may find new energy and vitality after you heal, so you may be able to gain strength more quickly than before.
Keep in mind that you’ve had major surgery so your abdominal muscles need plenty of time to heal before overworking them.
Either way, we suggest discussing your workout plans with your healthcare practitioner before starting out on your own. They may recommend an ostomy belt to help support your abdomen and hold your ostomy pouch in place.
Can I run with an ostomy?
Once your doctor has determined you’ve healed enough to start a running routine, you should be good to go. However, ease into it slowly, as with any other physical activity.
For instance, you may want to try intervals of walking for a few minutes and then running for one minute. This will help you build your stamina back up over time.
Worried about your ostomy pouch loosening or leaking as you jog? The good news is that plenty of ostomy products are available to help with this issue.
An ostomy belt, as mentioned above, can help hold your ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy bag in place while supporting your core. Another great option to try would be barrier strips like Convatec’s ease™ Strips. These keep your ostomy skin barrier more secure and prevent leaks.
180 Medical’s trained Ostomy Specialists can help you discover what ostomy accessories suit your body, needs, and exercise routine best.
Can I do yoga with an ostomy?
If you were already a seasoned yogi before your ostomy surgery, then you know that different yoga types have varying levels of intensity. For example, Hatha yoga is a slower and more peaceful form of yoga, while other classes like Bikram yoga may involve a heated room and a constant flow of yoga poses that can keep you moving and get you sweaty.
The best answer is to talk to your doctor about when it’s time to get back to your favorite exercise classes like yoga or pilates. Make sure your incision sites have fully healed as well as your abdominal muscles since both yoga and pilates rely a lot on core strength.
Don’t be afraid to move at your own pace. Most yoga teachers will understand, whether or not you tell them you’ve had surgery. However, you don’t have to tell anyone about your ostomy if you don’t want to.
Many people who do yoga or exercise prefer wearing wraps or additional tight-fitting layers to keep their pouching system secure. Also, most ostomy skin barriers are water-resistant and should be able to stay sealed to your skin while you move and sweat. However, you still have options like ease™ Strips to help further secure your skin barrier during exercise.
Can I swim with an ostomy?
You can absolutely get back to swimming with an ostomy once your doctor gives you the okay. In fact, slow-paced swimming is a great beginner activity to build back strength after ostomy surgery.
You may still have some fears though. For example, what about leakage? Or what if someone is able to see your ostomy pouch through your swimsuit? After all, you want to be able to chill out and enjoy your life while bathing, swimming, or hanging out in a hot tub. Don’t worry. You have options.
Ostomysecrets.com is a great place to get a wide range of ostomy wraps, concealing swimwear, underwear for men, women, and children, and even skincare options.
If you have a colostomy or an ileostomy, you’ll want to cover the filter on your ostomy pouch. This keeps water from entering and bloating your pouch.
Your ostomy pouch and skin barrier are water-resistant and should keep a good hold on your skin, although you have additional options to keep your pouching system more secure. Barrier strips, closed-end pouches, or a mini pouch without a filter, such as the Sur-Fit Natura Mini Pouch, may be just what you need for some peace of mind.
Tips for Physical Activity With an Ostomy
No matter what type of physical activity you choose, here are some helpful tips for your health as you adjust to your new ostomy:
- Stay well-hydrated
- Avoid triggering foods that may cause stomach upset or gas
- Avoid diuretics like caffeine or other irritants
- Eat a healthy doctor-approved diet
- Start out slow and pace yourself
- Find helpful tips and tricks from ostomates in the me+ community
- You may want to stay away from violent or very physical contact sports that could damage your stoma or rupture your pouch
- Find flattering, discreet clothing and accessories for your ostomy with Ostomysecrets
- Only seek medical advice from your healthcare professional like a doctor or registered WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse)
180 Medical Is Ready to Help You Get Back to Living a Life You Love
Are you looking for a reliable ostomy supply company? Get in touch with 180 Medical’s team of trained, friendly Ostomy Specialists today. We’ll gladly help you find the right ostomy products that can suit your unique needs.
We’re always excited to hear from our customers about what adventures they’re experiencing in their new lives as ostomates. Many of them participate in all kinds of fun activities like tennis, volleyball, and karate. We even have a gentleman in his 80s who pole-vaults, a minor league baseball player, skydivers, and marathon runners!
Because of our awesome customers, we’ve found that you can still live an active and fun lifestyle with an ostomy!
Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of physical activities that some people with an ostomy participate in once they’ve been given approval from their prescribing doctor. This article should not be taken as medical advice nor be used in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a healthcare provider.