Couch To 5K With A Stoma

Sam Feb 2021

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a good start to the New Year. At our house, we decided to join in with a few New Year trends and avoid some others altogether - generally for our own sanity!

The BIG one Dry January…

We avoided this, we’ve done it before and yes it was rewarding - that post month drink was delicious! However, were not big drinkers at home and this year, coupled with the fact we kept our Christmas tree up (I know sacrilege) we wanted to make the start to 2021 a good one with continued merriment – it was going to be tough enough with our wine and prosecco at the weekend, never mind without!

The Christmas tree debate…

Did you keep yours up?! Well, I’m happy to say we did! Firstly, we had a real tree, so why take it down when it’s still alive (sort of)? Secondly, I took down the baubles but left the lights on so now its technically a houseplant with fairy lights on it! And thirdly, we needed a bit of extra festive cheer.

Another hot topic VEGANUARY….

We looked at it, and looked at it some more, but putting together a vegan menu that my stoma could cope with was just too much to take on – I have a ‘love to hate’ relationship with fruit, vegetable and soya-based products so getting the right balance would have proven difficult. We took the choice instead to buy better - choosing a local farm shop for our produce and to reduce our meat intake (I don’t eat red meat anyway as it doesn’t agree with me), plus we’ve chosen to eat more fish.


We walk every day, some days more than others. We have a dog, but even if we didn’t, we LOVE to walk, and this year we’ve decided to try something a little extra – we’ve become those people who put on their actual trainers and hit the streets… we embarked upon the Couch to 5K.

I used to be a runner, competing in my teens at long distance (a VERY long time ago) but since I’ve had my stoma I’ve always been worried about exercise. Will I hurt myself or my abdominal muscles? What should I consider with regards to exercising with a stoma? These are the things I would worry about. Well, I now have some personal tips…

  • Stay hydrated: hydration is a big issue for ostomates, particularly ileostomates. Water or an isotonic drink will help with this, and don’t forget – you can still be dehydrated during winter so keep an eye on your fluid intake.
  • Wear something you feel comfortable in: that’s both your clothes and what’s on your feet!
  • Hernia support: ostomates can benefit from wearing a hernia support belt to prevent possible parastomal hernias or prolapse – I had one made and fitted and it’s very comfortable, but I only wear it when I’m doing my stretches before and after (I find while running it’s not comfortable for me
  • Are you well? I’d say most importantly ask yourself, “Do I feel well today?” it’s important we look after both our minds and our bodies and exercise isn’t a good thing if we’re not fit for it!
  • Pouch check: before you leave the house make sure you’ve emptied your bag and check everything is secure, adding a flange extender if you need that extra security.

So, as they say, slow and steady wins the race… and yes, I’ve had to find my comfortable pace and no, I’m not as fit as I used to be (I’m not attempting to be), but the stretching before and after, and the short time I’m out makes me focus on something that isn’t the current global pandemic. This is a huge benefit for me mentally. The bonus is, if I manage to get a little more able and take this ‘hobby’ through the year with me, then I’m all for it. To be honest I never thought I’d hear myself say it… “Hi my name’s Sam, I did the Couch to 5K while still drinking wine and eating less red meat and YES it felt good.”

"Do I feel well today?” it’s important we look after both our minds and our bodies.” – Sam Melling

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by Sam Melling

Sam Melling

About the author

AKA TheModernBagLady, I enjoy Tapas Tuesdays, Fizz Thursdays and Fun time Fridays. When I'm not my sensible (using the term very loosely) office alter ego, I can be found seeking new adventures, wondering in woodlands, flirting with festivals and lightly laughing my way through the trials and tribulations that any “bag lady” faces.

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