Physical activity with a stoma

Published 9th January 2019 by Sorin Tudorut

It’s widely accepted that physical activity is good for everyone and helps create good mental and physical wellbeing. Any amount of exercise no matter how small is beneficial. 

Getting active is important as soon as you feel able after stoma surgery, it can speed up recovery and help prevent complications that might occur after a period of inactivity.

How soon can I exercise after surgery?

Everyone is different, and many factors will define how quickly you can get active again. For example, the type of surgery you had, how fit you were before surgery and how quickly you are healing. For some it could be just a few weeks, for others longer. Please seek advice from your nurse or doctor before beginning any new activity. 

As you begin to exercise again, take some time to test your current physical state and gain confidence. Find the level that’s right and comfortably for you. Start slowly then push yourself a little further each day. This constant adjusting of goals will allow you to feel the progress you’re making every day. 

  • Learnto place and secure your stoma pouch ready for any activity
  • Movearound and get a feel for how your stoma reacts to different movements
  • Gain confidence - movemore and more each day, building up towards your desired level of exercise
  • Do whatever activity you feel comfortable doing

What types of activity can I do?

The easy answer is ANYTHING you want to when it comes to having a stoma, you shouldn’t be prevented from staying fit the way you want to. You can access lots of information on ways to stay active on the ConvaTec me+™ website.

As long as your doctor approves, don’t limit yourself, especially if it is an activity you previously enjoyed. The best advice is to start slowly, here are a few ideas for you.

Walking and jogging

Ease yourself into exercise by walking, walking can be a nice easy and gentle way to get back into your routine. It’s also an activity that you can start soon after surgery, and you can gradually increase both time and distance as you feel better. When you challenge yourself to walk and then jog, your strength and endurance will improve.


Cycling is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t put too much strain on your abdomen. If you had to have surgery to remove your anus, you’ll need to wait longer to begin biking, to allow this area to heal.


With your weight supported by the water, swimming gives your muscles a workout with minimal risk of injury. Swimming can also help you develop more flexibility. Most stoma bags are water-resistant so you should be able to wear your existing pouch while you are in the water. If you use a bag with a filter it’s advisable to use a pouch filter cover (normally supplied with stoma pouches) whilst you are in the water. Depending on the type of stoma you have and frequency and volume of output, you could consider using a stoma cap instead.

Don’t avoid the pool because you think people will know you have a stoma. Most people will never notice! If you want to be more discreet you can invest in some special swimwear, there are a number of suppliers available, call the me+™ lifestyle advisors for more information on 0800 467 866.

Running, jogging, swimming, climbing, skiing; when it comes to having a stoma, you shouldn’t be prevented from staying fit the way you want to – get active, get back to being you.