Staying strong

17 September 2021

Luciana Podschun introduces the autumn 2021 issue of StomaTips

Living through a pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone’s life, and it has certainly done something strange with how we perceive the passage of time. Of course, some people have struggled more than others with the psychological and physical health consequences of the virus and lockdowns. Many people has found their own strategies to deal with the pandemic, and, for some, exercise has been a big part of this.

I must confess that I was 45 years old when I first decided to go to the gym. This was in response to some concerning blood test results showing high cholesterol and triglycerides. Like all beginnings, it was hard to start, but, after a few weeks, I started seeing the positive results. By the time I had the operation that made me a permanent ostomate, I had become quite strong. However, months of being in hospital led to me losing all the muscle I had gained. After discharge and recovery, I was keen to get exercising again. As soon as I was able, I didn’t stop. I first started with simple exercises specifically designed to improve core strength, and after some time, I was feeling good again.

There is plenty of scientific evidence that being physically active can help you become healthier and happier in all manner of ways. It can reduce your risk of cancer and help you manage chronic diseases, not to mention improve your sex life! Having lived with a chronic condition for many years now, I have come to recognise the important benefits of staying active, even when it feels like a challenge. I only wish I had started earlier.

Through the pandemic, having a regular workout routine has really helped offset the negative impact of lockdown. On my blue days, when I feel a bit down, I have found that walking and other kinds of exercise have provided a welcome therapeutic escape. Over the past year and a half, I have certainly found myself trying and learning different things, and it is never too late to learn something new or to change some old habits.

I hope you enjoy our autumn issue and that you will be inspired by some of the stories of recovery and advice on how to strengthen your body, mental health and self-belief after stoma surgery.