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, weight lifters, 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:

  • Start slowly and go at your own pace. Your abdominal muscles will need some time to heal from your surgery. Your healthcare professional can tell you when and how to start exercising again.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy and that fits into your schedule at least three times a week, for a minimum of 30-60 minutes per session.
  • For the best experience, empty your pouch before you exercise. Also, ensure your wafer has been on for at least an hour prior to getting wet or beginning any activity that will cause you to perspire.
  • Most ostomy pouching systems are water-resistant — even for swimming.
  • For swimmers: cover the vent on your deodorizing filter with a filter cover to prevent water from entering the pouch. You can remove the cover once you are dry.
  • Want to relax in a sauna or hot tub? No problem, as long as this is approved by your healthcare professional. Simply add a water-resistant tape frame around your barrier to protect the adhesive, and be sure to check the seal periodically.

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 yearsA.

You can learn more about Rob’s adventures, read other inspiring stories, and even add your own triumphs when you join me+, our support community for people living with ostomies.