Rowing Machines with Colostomy: Is it Safe?

Robin C

Can anyone tell me if it's okay to use a rowing machine with a colostomy?


Hello Robin C.

Thank you for the question.

There have been many questions about different forms of  exercise over the years and the concensus seems to be that for a few months after the operation it is wise to avoid any strenuous exercise as there is a high probability of getting a hernia.  After a 'sensible' period, exercise should be approached in an ultra-cautious manner, starting light and slight, then gradually increasing until you get to the level you wish.

Wearing a hernia belt as a preventative measure seems like another sensible precaution if you are going to indulge in strenuous exercises. 

I am (after a few years)  able to indulge in most of the activities I did before  the stoma and, 'if' I had the urge to row, I do not think that the stoma would hold me back.

Be bold - but be careful!

Best wishes


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Yes, I used to take part in rowing competitions until a few years ago with a stoma


Anything that works your abdominal muscles needs to be approached cautiously for a new ostomate. There are very gentle exercises you can start with to build up these muscles. If you Google 'exercises for ostomies' you will find some. You can increase abdominal exercises as you develop these muscles, otherwise you are at greater risk of hernia. I do some of the pre-ostomy abdominal exercises I used to do, but not all, and I started out slowly.



Hi Robin.

Definitely take things slow. I am pretty active and tried to take things slow yet I still developed an incisional hernia. What would have been a simple hernia surgery is now complex due to the colostomy. Always wear a support belt of some kind, in my opinion.

I run, bicycle, and lift light weights but always with a binder of some kind.

I hope this helps.


How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

If you feel up to it. Absolutely.


I don't know your pre-fitness level and what you were or are capable of - nor do I know what your ostomy circumstances are - so you have to wear your own hat when reading people's answers.
With that said, I'm also unsure of what your rowing concerns are - are you concerned about a blowout or a hernia or what?

For me - I was 14 (39 now) and super active when I got mine, needless to say after recovery - I got right back into everything I did before and more. Be real with yourself, but don't put limitations on what you think you can or can't do. You may surprise yourself.

Hopefully that's the kick in the pants you need to get moving again - I use our rower at work from time to time, but I also ocean kayak a fair bit too - similar but different. Honestly, for any workout I do, I just make sure I have good life left on the bag I'm wearing - that's my best advice. I know how many days of wear I can get on them, and if I'm on day 3 and want to run up a mountain and camp overnight - well, maybe I should freshen up before I leave, you know?

That's it! Best of luck!


gary S.

I have an ileostomy and have been using a rowing machine for years. No problems and rowing is a great way to keep the stomach flat.

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