Do you love to play tennis or golf? Think there’s nothing better than jogging, yoga or going for a swim? That’s great! Having an ostomy should not prevent you from staying fit.
With your healthcare professional's permission, you can return to most sports and activities you enjoyed before your surgery. The only possible exceptions are contact sports (such as boxing, wrestling or football) because of injury risk to the stoma from a severe blow.
People living with an ostomy include competitive distance runners, weightlifters, skiers, swimmers and many other amateur and professional athletes. And if you didn’t exercise before your surgery, there’s no time like the present to start.
Here are a few tips for resuming exercise and other physical activities:
One man who has taken post-ostomy fitness to heart is Rob Hill. Rob went from barely being able to make it up a flight of stairs, to becoming the first Crohn's disease/ostomy patient to climb the Seven Summits (the highest mountain peaks on each continent) in just eight years1.
Over the next year and a half, Rob's condition worsened. His weight plummeted — from 185 pounds to his lightest recorded weight of 105 — and it became clear that his large intestine needed to be removed. "When it came down to losing my colon or losing my life, it wasn't a hard decision to make," he says. Eight years after his life-changing surgery, Rob decided to challenge the social stigma surrounding intestinal diseases and living with an ostomy.
After 10 years of flare-ups, hospitalizations and weight gain from medication due to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Linda opted for ileostomy surgery. At age 51, her life began again. Now she uses her newfound zest and enjoyment for life to help others dealing with an intestinal disease.
"It was a huge shock when I needed emergency ileostomy surgery to treat life-threatening peritonitis. Even worse, the surgery didn’t go as planned, and I underwent five more operations over the next two years to treat various complications." Read more from Sarah and learn about her life with an ostomy.