Tips for exercising
Exercising makes your everyday life less troublesome. Especially in the months after your surgery, where it can really help speed up the recovery, as the physical activity gives you more energy and makes you stronger and better equipped to cope with illnesses. Further-more, exercise can prevent complications that may otherwise occur from sitting or lying down too long.
Being fit can make your solution fit even better
A great side effect of exercising is weight-loss or weight-maintenance. Depending on the shape of your ostomy, a firmer, flatter abdomen could make it easier to get a tight fit from your ostomy appliance, thereby minimizing leakage risks.
Exercise will boost your confidence
As you start exercising, you will feel an almost immediate boost in your awareness of yourself. This apprecia-tion is really good for building self-confidence and could help give you the energy and courage to really get back to the way you lived before your surgery.
How exercise can help stress
An active lifestyle means stronger heart, a better blood circulation, better lung functions and healthier skin among other things. It can also help boost your confidence and give you more energy overall. This can help against any stress you might feel after your operation.
If you are not used to exercise
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do much exercise before; you can just as well get started now as you could before your operation. You may start out with a daily walk to the end of the block. Later on there are almost no limits to what you can do, as long as you take the right precautions. But you should always ask your doctor or ostomy care nurse to give the green light, before you start exercising.
3 things to be aware of
- Be sure to empty your pouch before exercising for greater freedom of movement and a reduced risk of leakage.
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.
- Avoid any kind of heavy lifting for the first six to eight weeks after your surgery, as strenuous activities can put you at risk for a hernia.
Walking is an easy, gentle way to get back into
a routine. It is also an activity that you can start soon after surgery. Whether you walk inside (e.g. up and down stairs), or outside in the fresh air, it is an activity that you can gradually increase in both speed and distance.
Tip: If you are doing longer walks or advancing into hiking, make sure you give your body the support it needs with a good pair of walking or hiking shoes.
If your doctor or ostomy care nurse gives you the go ahead, running is a very good way to get and stay in shape. If you are not used to running, you will need to start out slowly, alternating between running and walking.
Tip: Pay attention to the adhesive from time to time. If you want to feel even more secure, using an ostomy belt will help keep your pouch in place.
Don’t avoid the pool because you fear »others will know« about your ostomy, swimming and water aerobics are great ways to keep fit! With your weight supported by the water, swimming gives your muscles a workout with minimal risk of injury. Swimming can also help you develop more flexi bility, and it’s a good option if you are bothered by arthritis.
Tip: Use specialty swimwear to hide your ostomy. Women might consider wearing snug swimsuits with dark colours or busy patterns, while boxer-style swim-ming trunks is a good choice for men. You might also consider wearing a smaller and less bulky pouch.
Ostomy under water
- If you fear that your appliance isn’t resistant enough to be underwater follow these few suggestions:
- Water can cause the edges of your baseplate to lift, so make sure that the edges of the appliance are completely secure.
- If you use hot tubs, be sure to check your pouch seal. Heat can affect your weartime, so you may need to change your ostomy appliance sooner.
- If you wear a pouch with a filter, you might need to cover it with a filter sticker.
As we grow older, we gradually lose vital muscle mass. Strength training with weights or resistance bands will help you maintain or even build muscle, making your body more enduring and reducing the risk of joint injury, shaping your body and helping you stay lean and healthy. Strength training also makes your body more enduring in other sports and reduces the risk of joint injury, it shapes your body and sends your calorie burning skyrocketing.
Tip: Use a support garment to keep everything »in place«, when you are lifting and/or using abdominal muscles, as heavy lifting can put you at risk for a hernia.
Having other people rely on your being there might provide that final spark to get out the door and develop the exercise habit, and many find it easier to overcome self-awareness issues and immerse themselves in team sports, rather than individual sports. Competitive sports can, however, be strenuous, so they may not be the best choice to start with if you haven’t exercised much before. In any case be sure to check with your doctor or ostomy care nurse, before you begin exercising.
Tip: Wear an ostomy belt or girdle to keep the pouch securely in place. In contact sports such as football, rugby tackle, wrestling or kung fu there are protective ostomy guards that can help prevent ostomy injury.