Today I started the gym. Yeah, I know…I must be crazy! I’ve never been a gym person; I didn’t really know what cardio was and I most certainly didn’t know the first thing about weights (to be fair, I still don’t as I’ve not got to that bit yet!) but after realising how out of shape I was after coming out of hospital (I could hardly walk at first) and seeing how much muscle wastage I had, I knew I had to do something about it.
I was worried about exercising with an stoma however after following a few fitspo intsagrams of girls with stomas I knew it was more than possible (@zoeywright10 and @_kaitb are two of my faves) but I also was aware that my body is still healing and I don’t want to hurt myself or get a hernia. Luckily, my doctors works with the local gym to do “exercise on referral”…it’s like getting a personal trainer who works with you to improve fitness and help rehabilitate after having surgeries.
I was actually surprised at how much I did enjoy it and I can’t wait for my next session. I mainly did cardio as we’re slowly building up my muscles (especially my abdomen for obvious reasons!) and worked on the cross trainers, tread mill, bikes, rowing machine and another contraption which I do not know the name of (as you can see, I know lots about the gym…)
My tips for ostomates going to the gym
1. Stay Hydrated
For obvious reasons, make sure you take lots of water with you. It’s important for anyone going to the gym but especially important for ostomates because of the extra sweat, you need to replace those fluids. I drank water during my hour session and then opted for a Lucozade Sport and a packet of crisps once I was done (the crisps to replace the salt…plus I love crisps!)
2. Get Help From A Professional
This is a definite must if you’ve never really been to the gym before and/or are receiving from surgery. By getting help, you’ve got that extra assurance that you’re less likely to hurt yourself and, if you’re like me and the thought of exercise makes you cry a little, having sessions with someone gives you a reason to actually go so you can get into a routine for it to become normal.
3. Support That Stoma
This isn’t necessarily a must but I find supporting the stoma just makes you feel more comfortable. I opened for support underwear (from Sainsbury’s) but there are belts and proper ostomy designed underwear but they can be so expensive!
4. Take It Slow
Rome wasn’t built in a day and you’re body isn’t going to change overnight. Taking it slow will ensure you don’t injure yourself and you will start to see improvements gradually.