Wellness and Fitness

Sports and Exercise

Physical Limitations Following Surgery

You should begin walking in moderation after your surgery and do this regularly, every day after you get home. Walking stimulates the return of bowel function and will get you back on the road to regaining the muscle you lost while in hospital. Whatever sports you may have played in the past, you can enjoy them again with few exceptions. If you have questions – ask your NSWOC. It is imperative to know that you cannot jump back into training or exercise at the same level you left. You must refrain from heavy stress on your core during the weeks following surgery. Unless you had laparoscopic surgery, your abdominal muscles would have weakened by incisions and require adequate healing time. Improper lifting or lifting too heavy a weight too soon could cause a hernia.

Avoid all lifting, including laundry hampers and vacuums, for those first few weeks. Introduce light loads gradually and carefully. Still, it would help if you avoided abdominal exercises for a while and then only introduced these in gradual, gentle amounts.

Well hey there little guy

Resuming Physical Activity with an Ostomy

Ostomates who regain previous fitness levels can return to a wide variety of sports and exercise. You may read many articles in the Ostomy Canada Magazine about people doing activities like running, swimming, biking, snorkeling, golf, hiking, hunting, yoga, riding, team sports, and Triathlons with an ostomy! The list even includes contact team sports – professional footballers have played with an ostomy. Unless your chosen sport before was powerlifting or wrestling, you will probably be able to do it again.

Protecting the Stoma During Sports

Stomas are reasonably hardy, but some common sense rules apply. You may want to wear a hernia belt as a precaution while engaging in strenuous sports. Ostomates engaged in contact sports should consider wearing a stoma guard and, if desired, an abdominal/surgical support belt as well. A stoma guard is similar in function to a male athletic cup and is held in place with an ostomy belt. Abdominal/surgical support belts aren’t ‘belts’ per se, but like wearing armor and can boost confidence if you’re anxious about being bumped.

The main danger to a stoma during strenuous sports is being cut or lacerated. Because the stoma itself has no nerve endings, you can be injured without knowing it. Causes of stomal laceration include shifting of the wafer, too small an opening, and rigid items too close to it. You don’t want to overdo things, but stomas can withstand a bit of rough and tumble.

Keeping the Pouching System on During sports

Ostomy belts are helpful, as is taping or using a flange extender to secure your flange around the edges. If you sweat a lot, you should check your pouching system periodically. You might need to change if a game is ongoing and you feel the appliance slipping.

Hydration Is Very Important

Hydration is especially for those with an ileostomy. Drink lots of fluids if you’re exercising, playing sports or just out for a long walk.

Sign Petition

Ostomy Canada is petitioning the Ontario Government to: "Respect the ADP mandate to cover 75% of the average cost of ostomy supplies and would like your help by adding your name. Once we have a sufficient # of signatures, the petition will be brought to the Ontario Legislature by The NDP Health Critic.