Ileostomy exercise advice < BACK

Early daysMore info
Initially, when you first return home, you will feel very tired. It is important to listen to your body and have plenty of rest. Perhaps have an afternoon nap or just sit down for a while. Do a little and then rest a little.
Lifting More info

- Heavy lifting should be avoided for 12 weeks following your operation
- Gradually increase activity: many household jobs such as ironing or washing up can be done while sitting down
- Avoid stretching to reach high cupboards
- Slide furniture, rather than lifting it
- Don't carry heavy loads of shopping - divide it into two bags, rather than one, to balance it
- Don't lift anything heavier than a full kettle of water for a few weeks
- Don't vacuum for 12 weeks
- If you need to lift, make sure you bend your knees and keep the object
close to your body
- If you are carrying out lifting activities regularly, consider wearing a support garment or belt

Abdominal exercise More info

As a result of your operation, your abdominal muscles may have weakened, which can result in hernia formation. It is important to continue with the exercises taught to you in hospital by the physiotherapist. Exercises that can be beneficial, regardless of age and general fitness, are Yoga, Tai-Chi and Pilates; these are gentle, low-impact forms of exercise. Remember - always check with your surgeon or GP that they are happy for you to exercise. Stop if it hurts!

Walking More info

Walking is an excellent form of exercise. As you begin to feel better, start taking short walks. Don't be tempted to walk too far - remember that you have to get home again. As you feel stronger, you should try and walk for 30 minutes each day. This will also help to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

DrivingMore info
Check with your stoma care nurse/GP/surgeon when to resume driving. You should be able to carry out an emergency stop without putting strain on your abdominal muscles. This can take up to 6 weeks following your surgery. Also check your insurance policy as their information may vary. If you find that your seat belt is uncomfortable, you can buy a device that you can wear over your stoma that allows the belt to be placed loosely over your stoma. These are available from any good car accessory shop.
Gardening More info

For the first 3 months following surgery, avoid any heavy work such as digging or pushing a lawnmower. Kneel down when weeding - you may want to use a “kneeler” with support handles to prevent strain on your abdominal muscles when standing back up. Again, it may be advisable to wear a support belt or pants when carrying out heavy work.

Swimming More info

This is an excellent exercise for improving overall fitness. Any exercise in water will be beneficial, particularly aqua-aerobics, once you have completely recovered from your surgery. Swimwear may be a concern. For men, high-waisted shorts are ideal and, for ladies, patterned swimsuits or suits with a sash or bow over the stoma will be more discreet. Several companies now specialise in stoma wear, but suitable swimwear can also be found on the high street.

Active sports More info

You may wish to resume more active sports, but do discuss this with your stoma care nurse. It may be necessary to wear a stoma protector, support pants or a belt when partaking in more strenuous or contact sports. Again, high-waisted shorts are available from all good sports shops. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Opposite: Simplicity® stoma support wear
Working More info

This will depend on what type of work you do. It is probably advisable to wait until after your post-operative check-up and consider a gradual return. If your work involves heavy lifting, you should wait until after 12 weeks. Also consider wearing a support garment or belt. Speak to your employer about undertaking lighter duties. If you have any further questions about returning to your normal activities, don't hesitate to contact your stoma care nurse.

Swimwear and clothingMore info
The following companies produce clothing for ostomists:
CUI Wear:

White Rose Collection:
Keeping on the move booklet More info

Take a look at our digital booklet about exercise advice for ostomists — "Keeping on the move." Just click on the image to the right.