Physical activity and exercise after stoma surgery - a complete guide

You shouldn’t let your stoma become a barrier for you becoming active. There really are very few restrictions. From easily handling those everyday chores to returning to your regular routine, being active really can transform your life.

The benefits of getting active after stoma surgery

You may be wondering why it is so important to get active after surgery? Does the thought of physical activity with a stoma worry you? Here are just a few of the reasons why introducing some activity into your life could help:

◾️ Helps you to recover better after stoma surgery

◾️ Helps you to gain the confidence to take part in social activities with family and friends

◾️ Exercise can help you to feel better generally. Read our ‘Top 10 Benefits of Getting Active’ for more information.

◾️ Gives you the confidence to get back to taking part in the sporting activities you love

◾️ Toning your abdominal core after stoma surgery can reduce your risk of parastomal hernia, a problem which over 70% of people with a stoma come up against.

But what does being active really mean?

The term active means something different to everybody. It’s about finding the right level of activity to suit you and your lifestyle.

Your active could mean taking the dogs for a walk, carrying your shopping to the front door or playing with the grandchildren at the park. It could also mean walking, jogging or even more strenuous sporting activities like running, cycling or competitive sports. Just know that every little bit you do can help.

Your stoma shouldn’t become a barrier to being active. There are lots of things you can do to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle. Just be sure to check your suitability with your healthcare professional before starting any new activities.

Every little bit you do is a step in the right direction. Just remember to be realistic in your expectations of yourself.

Find out more about getting active with a stoma.

Getting active starts with the right mindset

Often the first step to getting active after stoma surgery is accepting your life with a stoma. The right mindset and a positive outlook is essential to beginning your journey to recovery and getting active.

It’s widely known that even gentle exercise can release positive endorphins in the brain, producing a feel good factor which can create happier moments and help to reduce stress. Starting to introduce activity into your life can also help your body to repair and maintain itself after surgery, giving you the energy to be independent now and in the future.

If you are struggling to come to terms with living with a stoma, no matter what your stage of recovery, you can access free counselling support through the ConvaTec me+™ programme.

Common concerns surrounding activity after stoma surgery

It’s not unusual to have concerns about becoming active after stoma surgery. You may be scared of people knowing about your stoma, concerned about causing a further injury or maybe just worried your bag will leak or fall off. It could be just a question of confidence.

For many, not knowing what the right amount of exercise is or should be can often prevent them getting started. Questions around more specific activities such as swimming, running, or lifting things are some of the frequent causes of inactivity following surgery.

All of these fears and concerns are perfectly understandable but can be overcome with the right advice and support.

Have a read of some of the common concerns surrounding activity after stoma surgery and some useful tips on how to overcome them here.

What activities can I do with a stoma?

Your overall physical health is important in helping you to recover well from surgery. Even if you weren’t very active before surgery, there's lots of things you can do now to start to lead a more active life.

Below are just a few of the many activities you could do if you have a stoma:

◾️ Go walking. This can be started soon after surgery and you should build it up gradually.

◾️ Ride a bike. Cycling is a great low impact sport that doesn’t put too much strain on your stoma. Read our blog on cycling with a stoma here.

◾️ Go swimming. With the right bag and a bit of planning, there shouldn’t be any reason why you can’t go swimming with a stoma.

◾️ You can play most competitive sports like football, tennis, basketball and lots more.

You can do the housework. Just make sure that you avoid any heavy lifting for at least three months post-surgery.

You can get back to your favourite activities. Whether it’s a game of tennis or a round of golf, there’s so many things you can do. Be sure to listen to your body and build up your strength and fitness before doing too much.

These are just a few of the many activities you can do. If it’s simply the ‘not knowing’ which worries you, with the right advice – at the right time, you can do mostly everything, if not more, than you did before.

Find out more about activities you can do with a stoma.

Tips for Getting and Staying Active

There’s so much you can do today to start to introduce physical activity into your everyday life. The NHS recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week to stay healthy. There are lots of things you can do to achieve this, whether it be running, hiking, walking, or even mowing the lawn, everything helps. Read our ‘Top 10 Tips for Getting and Staying Active and get started for yourself today.

Finding the Right Product to Fit your Lifestyle

When you’re active, having a stoma solution you can really trust is incredibly important. Common worries include a fear that the bag may fall off, chafing or that the bag may be noisy. Finding the right bag and baseplate to suit you is the first step to gaining the confidence to take the steps towards getting active today.

ConvaTec Mouldable Technology™ has been specially designed to gently adjust to your stoma, giving you a snug and secure fit without the need for scissors.

Whether you’re running a marathon, playing golf or simply tidying the garden, you can have complete peace of mind that your stoma solution won’t let you down.


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