4 types of exercise that are great for ostomates - GoldCare

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4 types of exercise that are great for ostomates

If, like many others, you have entered the new year with thoughts of getting into better shape and the intention to hit the gym you might find the information in this post useful. We firmly believe that exercise with an ostomy can be really beneficial, however, it’s also important that you’re careful. We would also highly recommend consulting with your healthcare professional beforehand to ensure you are safe to do so.

Please note, with any form of exercise for ostomates it’s important that you start slow and gently build up your stamina. Avoid overdoing things and pushing yourself too hard. Exercise is also very dependent on the stage of recovery after surgery, those who are newly post-op are encouraged to take things easier, build slowly and avoid certain exercises, whilst more established ostomates can be more adventurous and should be able to start or return to a full exercise regime.

Here are some of the best types of exercise for ostomates:

Endurance style exercises

Walking and running are fantastic exercises and they can also help with your stoma by reducing the chances of constipation. The important thing to remember is to start slow and work your way up, don’t throw yourself in at the deep end with a 10km run. If you were in good shape before your operation, or if you’re already a keen runner you might be able to take things a little quicker.

Abdominal and Core

Many think that having a stoma will prohibit them from doing abdominal exercises. In fact, it’s highly likely that post surgery that you will need to focus on strengthening your abdominal wall, which can be significantly weakened. This can help to avoid sustaining injuries, especially when you’re doing plenty of other exercises! We must warn to be careful though, traditional sit-ups and crunches can be a challenge for ostomates. Instead, you could try pelvic tilts, hip lifts and knee rolls, which are considered safer alternatives for ostomates.

Balance and Flexibility

Exercises such as yoga, pilates and tai chi are incredibly smooth, but also very demanding. Each of these is a great way to target your core and strengthen your entire body without any heavy lifting. Everything is focussed on body weight and the slower pace means it’s much less uncomfortable. Don’t take it lightly though, it’s a challenging workout for novices!


We can’t recommend swimming enough for ostomates, it’s an incredible exercise that has cardio and strengthening benefits. It’s also really gentle on the abdominal area and puts very little pressure on your stoma. Of course, you will have to prepare beforehand and make sure your bag is empty and secure.

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