84% Of Stoma Patients Find This Exercise The Best

Group of friends walking on a beach

As we all know, exercise is so important – not just for our physical health, but for our mental wellbeing and general happiness as well. The good news is that exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going for a run, playing football or taking a vigorous aerobics class! Walking, gardening, yoga and swimming will also get those feel-good endorphins flowing too.

We recently conducted a survey of our ostomate community to see how they felt about taking exercise with a stoma. Here’s what we found:


As we can see from the charts, some people have concerns about continuing with their exercise regime after having a stoma. This is completely understandable – it takes time to get used to having a stoma and accommodating it into your life and routines. The good news is that over 66% of the respondents continued to exercise 1-2 days per week or more, with 16.7% being active on at least 5 days per week. Phew, that’s dedication!

Bar chart showing where people go for information about exercising with a stoma

Walking is by far the most popular activity; 84% of respondents said that walking was part of their weekly exercise regime. Being out in nature and the fresh air, even for a short walk each day can really energise us and lift our spirits. 

Swimming is another low-impact form of exercise that can be quite popular. However, only 29% of respondents said that it is part of their weekly routine. Some respondents had concerns about their “appearance, accidents and ability when swimming”. While it’s completely normal to be concerned about these things, with a little planning, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t still enjoy swimming. 

Pilates and Yoga are next with just over 16% of ostomates still enjoying their regular pilates or yoga practice. It’s inspiring to see you can continue to enjoy the benefits of these more gentle but very effective forms of exercise.

Then we have so many other activities including going to the gym, running, gardening, bowls, tennis, cycling, fishing and Zumba – such a variety of sports and hobbies to keep our bodies moving and our minds active which is great to see!

Concerns When Exercising With A Stoma

We asked about any concerns people may have about their stoma while exercising. Quite a few respondents didn’t have any concerns but here’s a round-up of the most common ones:

Do you have any concerns about your stoma while exercising? If yes, what are they?

  • Bag filling on a long walk
  • Parastomal hernia issues 
  • Worried about appearance, accidents and ability when swimming
  • Pancaking causing leaks behind hernia belt
  • Explosions or loose stools, especially at work or out on activities
  • Making sure the bag is emptied before exercise
  • Wearing support garments, especially for those with hernias
  • Leaks

These are all very normal and understandable concerns to have before re-starting your fitness routine after stoma surgery, or embarking on one for the first time. It can be daunting, but with some practice and time, we know it’s possible enjoy being active with a stoma.

Products To Use While Exercising With A Stoma

A lot of people mentioned products and devices that could help them while exercising with a stoma. If we’ve missed any please let us know and send us a message to help@healthcaredeliveryreviews.co.uk and we’ll update.

We’re not endorsing these products in particular – these are just some examples of a wide range of specialist stoma garments that are available.

Bar chart showing what exercises people do since having a stoma

The vast majority of respondents used the internet and their GP or medical professional to get advice and information. It’s important to be able to ask questions about your specific concerns and worries, and you should always consult your GP before starting any exercise programme. It’s good to see that there are good sources of information including support groups and the providers of stoma products themselves.

So that’s it! We were really encouraged to see so many positive replies – giving it a go and taking things slowly to build confidence and just do what you can.

We’ll just leave you with this lovely comment that made our day:

“I have recently been on holiday for a month in Crete and Turkey. The temperature in both cases upper 20s to mid-30s. Whilst on holiday, I have been walking and swimming every day. This is the first time since having a stoma that I have travelled abroad or experienced these temperatures. No problems to date”

If you use a bladder or bowel appliance and would like to join our panel of experts and have your voice heard please click here to apply. 

The information in this blog is intended as a guide only. Always consult your GP or healthcare professional before starting an exercise programme, especially if you have recently had surgery. 



Information accurate as of July 2022.



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