After all the hard times you go through because of your disease, it's okay to be out of shape. The muscles you don't use grow weaker... At least that's what happened to me. During my convalescence, I kept thinking that my family and friends were lucky to be able to do as many physical activities as they wanted to. I was really looking forward to going back to the gym. I thought I could do the same exercices I was doing before my surgery. However, it wasn't as easy as I'd imagined. After 15-20 minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill, I was drenched in sweat and I was already tired... That's when I understood that it wouldn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped.

Here are four important things to remember when getting back in shape:   

  1.  Start training gradually, andchoose exercices that are not too hard to do at first. Train for a shorter amount of time, for example. Don't think that you can work out the way you used to before your surgery. You have to start again from the beginning.
  2. Don't expect your stomach to be as it was before and do crunches. This is not something you should prioritize when you start working out.
  3. Listen to what your doctor tells you. He's not there to restrain you, but to help you safely start getting into shape again.
  4. Find someone who work out at the same pace as you. Working out with a friend who's already in good shape may not motivate you as much as you thought it would.

I didn't expect to have to change my workout because I was an ostomate. I still had to get used to a few things.

Here's what changed for me, now that I am an ostomate woman who goes to the gym:

  • I feel like I have to replace my ostomy device ALL THE TIME. It probably depends on the type of device you have, but if I work out multiple times a week, I have to change it every three to four days. I used to have to do it every seven days. At first it can be really frustrating, but you need to get used to the idea that if you want to be active, this is something you'll need to do.
  • Sports clothing is really tight. At first, I was always wearing body wraps, which is something you put around your waist to hide your pouch. I felt that not only did it hide the pouch, it helped it stay in place. The problem though is that it was making me too hot. Now I use high-waisted leggings or panties, as they also hide the pouch.
  • There's this thing I call "dehydraphobia". I don't know if you are afraid of not drinking enough water like me. When my doctor told me I had to drink more water than people who have their colon, I took his advice to heart. I drink, I drink and I drink, and I can't drink enough water. Not drinking water during the day stresses me out. As you probably know, it's important to drink water when you sweat. Well I made drinking a lot of water a habit, especially when I know I'll be physically active later during the day.
  • Watch out for hernias. My doctors told me not to do a lot of crunches. I am really active and I didn't have any problems so far, but this is something you have to watch out for, especially for those whose surgery was not a laparoscopy. Listen to your body and pay attention to the signals it sends you.

I hope this article will make you want to be active and start doing the same activities you were doing before your surgery. Don't let your pouch stop you from being active. There are multiple ways to work around it.


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