Exercising After Surgery

by DD
(Harvest AL)

QUESTION: Are there any safe abdominal exercises for a 2 month post total colectomy (colon removal) patient?
Or exercises period?

ANSWER: DD, thanks for your question. I hope your recovery is going well.

First of all, no matter what suggestions I may have, you definitely need to check with your doctor before doing anything. Make sure you're medically cleared to do any type of exercise or strenuous activity.

Assuming you've been cleared to do abdominal exercises, I would start with two of the Stomach Flattening Exercises. Both Ab Bracing and the Plank will work your abs and deep core muscles without any flexing of the spine.

Ab bracing can be done lying down or sitting up. Brace your abs as if someone is about to punch you in your stomach. Hold for 5 seconds and then release. Be sure and keep breathing. Don't strain or hold your breath. Try 4-6 reps and then build up to 8-12 reps.

If a full Plank seems like it would be too strenuous at this point, you can modify it by planking from your knees instead of your toes. You can also do a plank with your forearms supported on the edge of a couch, bench, or chair. Start out holding the plank for 20-30 seconds. As you get stronger you can try a full plank and build up your time to 60+ seconds.

You should do both these exercises 3 times a week. As you get stronger you can gradually add in some crunches, reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, etc. All, of course, with your doctor's permission.

Good luck,


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