Undergoing an ostomy surgery can have a significant impact on one’s life, both physically and emotionally. Adjusting to life with an ostomy can be a daunting task, particularly when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle.
Regardless of whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone who enjoys leisurely walks, adapting to a new routine that includes an ostomy can be challenging. However, it’s crucial to engage in physical activities for both physical and mental well-being, and with the right strategies, you can continue to lead an active lifestyle. In this article, we’ll explore practical ways to adjust to an active lifestyle with an ostomy.
1. Get the right accessories
For people seeking to maintain an active lifestyle, accessories can prove to be invaluable tools. Wearing a specialized belt or wrap can provide additional support and help prevent the ostomy bag from shifting or moving around during physical activities. This can provide users with a greater sense of security and confidence while exercising.
Waterproof or sweatproof covers are available for ostomy bags, which can be worn during activities such as swimming, running, or cycling. These covers can minimize the risk of leaks or other complications while allowing for a complete range of motion. For those who feel self-conscious about odor during physical activity, deodorant sprays or drops can neutralize or eliminate the odor. Barrier films and ostomy tape strips can also shield the skin, reducing the discomfort caused by skin irritation or chafing around the stoma.
2. Start out slow
Physical activity is critical for overall health, both mentally and physically. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to start slowly and gradually increase physical activity after the surgery, particularly if you were not very active before the surgery.
Starting with light exercises like gentle stretching or taking short walks can help build endurance and strength. Over time, these exercises can be slowly intensified in terms of duration and intensity. It’s essential to listen to your body and avoid overdoing it, which can result in discomfort, fatigue, or even injury.
For some people, working with a physical therapist or trainer can be advantageous in designing a safe and effective exercise program. They can provide advice on proper form, breathing techniques, and the types of exercises that are best suited to an individual’s needs and abilities.
3. Coping with being self-conscious
Feeling self-conscious or uneasy about their ostomy bag during physical activity, particularly around others, is perfectly normal. However, there are a few strategies that can help to reduce these feelings and promote confidence.
One effective way to address this is by wearing loose or comfortable clothing that can help conceal the ostomy bag. This can help ostomates feel more comfortable and less anxious about the bag. Another approach is to use an ostomy cover, which can help to hide the bag while providing additional security.
It’s also important to find physical activities you feel comfortable and confident in. This could involve trying different activities or sports until you find one that they enjoy and feel good doing.