Have you thought about cycling as a form of exercise since having your stoma? I sure hadn’t but needs must and I have cycled to work – I hadn’t rode a bike since I was maybe 12! 00Steve nicely fixed up his old bike and adjusted it so it was “comfortable” to ride in preparation for me starting my new job!
I was if I’m honest quite worried about cycling for a couple of reasons, the first because I haven’t done in such a long time, second I am terribly unfit at the moment and thirdly because my work is 3.1 miles away from my house and you have the main roads to contend with.
00Steve sorted his old bike out and bought me a helmet which he found highly hilarious as I have a small head (that I’m incredibly self conscious about) he had to buy me a junior helmet! His bike needed a good checking over, the seat adjusting and the gears changing (I know naff all about gears!) oh and he fitted my running head lamp to the handle bars so I had a decent light for when I was coming home.
I thought cycling to work would be a good idea whilst I am still trying to pass my driving and it would help improve my fitness ready for doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks in July. I remember setting off and thinking “Oh my goodness what am I doing?” as I was nervous and scared. Nervous because I didn’t know how long it would take me and what state would I end up at work in; plus I was there for 7 hours and to cycle back. Scared because the main road I was travelling on can be quite busy with buses and lorries which obviously take longer to pass you.
It was 25 degree heat when I set off at 1:10 pm and I forgot there was inclines that flatten out at the top rather than slope back down. I HATE INCLINES so much it is unreal. Also a 5 exit roundabout that put the fear of God into me as so many people don’t indicate on those things! I wanted to stop a couple of times but I didn’t which was lucky for me as there might have been a chance I wouldn’t get back on the bike! I felt like crying because I was so slow and it was taking up an awful amount of effort. I had to laugh though because an elderly gentleman effortlessly sailed past me on his road bike and said hi as he did so. 20 minutes later give or take I arrived at work looking like a beetroot but feeling accomplished and not too broken.
I wish I had access to a drink or something as I felt a bit dehydrated especially because of the heat and sheer effort I had put in. I made sure I obviously had fit my helmet correctly and I wore my support t-shirt from Comfizz to give me peace of mind regarding my stoma which also meant I didn’t have to layer up in the heat. Also I wish I hadn’t chewed myself up inside with nerves and ate something before I set off. The main downside was that two of my colleagues were not fans of me travelling on my bike; they put my bike in the back of the car and drove me home then said the next two shifts I was to go by bus then get a lift home with them. I really appreciated not only their generosity but their kindness too, although I was looking forward to saying I had biked 10K by the time I had gotten home! I will be attempting to do that feat (by my standards it is a feat!) at least once next week!
But cycling with an ostomy is actually a good exercise to do as I am told it’s low impact or at least definitely is compared to running. Just listen to your body when starting any new type of exercise as you may dehydrate or fatigue easier, also as with any invasive surgery where the muscles have been cut you are at a higher risk of hernia so ensuring you have a good support base is imperative in my opinion. Do you ride a bike since having your stoma? What tips do you have for other ostomates like me just starting out? Please pop them in the comments.