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Ostomates and Sports

Sports offer great benefits to Colostomy, Ileostomy and Urostomy patients alike. Aside from the obvious gains to our bodies from being in shape and feeling healthy, ostomy patients get some psychological perks from exercising. For us, being in top form is more challenging and therefore the sense of achievement is quite fulfilling. It’s a way of stating that we control our lives, not our surgery. After a methodical recovery phase, there is no reason that can preclude us from practicing normal or even high tempo sports. Exercise can greatly contribute to brighten our life and we must seize that chance.

At first you might be weak or might have no enthusiasm to do major physical activity. You will need to go slow. Do not augment your exercise load more than 10% weekly. Listen to your body, but also push it a bit. There might be some concerns: the ostomy bag coming loose, expelling odor, injuring your stoma, or feeling physically apprehensive. Whatever the case, just go on. As you progress, all those inhibitions will disappear. To be sure, you need to rest a few weeks after surgery before trying to regain mobility. The stoma becomes strong ten days ensuing surgery. After a few months it hardens enough to withstand the movements and compressions from contact and team sports. Before any exercise session, get used to warming up and stretching. The latter is very important to prevent injuries and to flex muscles for maximum oxygenation. Always stretch before (softly), during (with a bit more intensity), and after (harder and no less than 5 minutes). When stretching, hold the muscles at least ten seconds. Do not bounce. After exercising, it’s fine to feel tired. However you should not experience major pains. If there is localized soreness, try a massage. If pains persist, let your health professional know.

There are different exercise routines or activities that you can select. As you progress and increase intensity, it is important to be aware that with an ostomy one needs to be more careful about adequate hydration and food intake practices. It is also highly recommended to wear an ostomy hernia belt (ostomy support belt) when exercising. A hernia belt provides support to help prevent parastomal hernias, and lessens the risks of lumbar pains.

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