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100 thoughts on “How I Exercise with a Stoma | Hannah Witton | AD

  1. For an excellent book on exercise and mental health I highly recommend "Spark!" by John Ratey, it really inspired me to start exercising with supporting my mental health as my main motivation. And yes I hired a personal trainer and I absolutely love her! Some of the best money I spend from my monthly budget! Her name is Beth Martin for anyone in London looking for a recommendation: https://www.linkedin.com/in/beth-martin-99284148?originalSubdomain=uk

    I'd never really got on with sport/exercise as a child because I'm dyspraxic and had mild asthma and I'm also not very competitive. I'd always thought that exercise was good for my body but that it took time and energy away from me so I wasn't very motivated to do it. Then I did an experiment on myself as part of my Masters in Positive Psychology where took the Exercise-Induced Feeling Inventory before and after exercising for a week and was surprised to discover that I felt more energized after exercise! I genuinely didn't know that beforehand! Anyway then I read "Spark!" and found a motivation for exercising that connected with me (I've struggled with Anxiety and Depression since undergrad). I may never be sporty but I can be active and enjoy it 🙂

  2. I really appreciate your posts on this topic. Thank you for being so open on a topic that many are too embarrassed to talk about. I got a total colectomy done in Feb 2015 and a liver transplant in July 2017. Everyone that I know knows about my transplant (and many I don't know), but very few know about my ostomy. It's something I would just rather not talk about. So again, thanks for sharing.

    I have strengthened my core muscles a little since the surgeries but with how much risk I am at for getting a hernia I don't do a whole lot. I have no issues with working out any other muscles or playing sports. I obviously won't be wearing leggings so I go with ostomy wraps. They work perfectly for me when I exercise or do anything really. I own a number of them and they are part of my every day attire.

  3. Hannah,

    Is laparoscopic surgery not an option for you? When I had a restorative proctocolectomy with IPAA, it was done laparoscopic. So was my takedown of my ostomy.

  4. I love fabletics leggings they are so comfortable!!!! I have had a personal trainer before in the past and I loved him!!! Such a great way to get you into exercises' you don't normally do! It holds be accountable more knowing I would see him on a weekly basis and didn't want to let him or myself down. I love doing weights and HITT too p.s. just bought two more pairs of leggings 😀

  5. (Physio student here) it is so so so brilliant to have such a detailed patient perspective – it's stories like yours that help shape practise, exercise for all is so important – plus your videos have definitely been a resource that is regularly accessed by patients.
    ❤ Diolch ❤

  6. I'm currently doing the Couch to 5K program after two years of doing almost nothing which means 60 seconds of running feels like I'm dying but I need to exercise because I feel really down when I don't (i have no money for a gym membership, even tho I'd prefer that.) There's something wrong with my feet that makes walking long distances and running very difficult but it's not killing me so I haven't gone to the doctor about it 😅

  7. You need to link up with Tia Mowry. You gals are spiritual twins. You'll be doing crunches while reciting positive affirmations. It'll be a bunch of stretching and vision boards. All kidding a side, if money is not an object, I say get the trainer because I think you work best with in a relationship setting. Mowry's motivation is joy and connection and I think you operate from the same space.

    I don't work out for health or looks. It's stupid really. I don't ever want to get jumped and not have enough strength to be formidable. I don't know where that comes from because I've never been jumped. Yet every time I convince myself not up my reps, I see violence against me in numbers and I do another set. My motivation is paranoia.

  8. Nice video! I’ve been watching a few of your vids as I’m about 6 weeks post emergency surgery now for what turned out to be bowel cancer. Got a colostomy in the process. Still going through recover, and would just like to say there been a ton of helpful information in your vids. Thank you for posting them all!

  9. … thnx for always being so open, no pun intended, :),..the stoma life is new for me (3 months in) and u have really helped… plus, u have proven that someone can have a stoma and still be smoking hot!!!..

  10. I had a Fabletics ad before your video to.
    I’m sorry for the ableist bs in your comment section right now, people who think they can define what being disabled is make me, rage.
    I’m sorry that you have had to deal with it as recently as that. I see you, your disability is valid. Your normal is not the same as the average person, you are a valid disabled woman. Your channel is about your life and you have a stoma, you are disabled, you are so much besides that more than that, all the adjectives. The people who were trying to argue with you, I am just hoping to give you a different voice, a different message to see on your work today.

  11. The thing about 'now that I have or had this big health thing I am working out more than before' is really interesting to me. My theory is that if your goal is just to be healthier, there are so many choices and so much contradicting advice, so if you have to focus on sth – like your core, in your case – the amount of options isn't that overwhelming anymore. Like, I am eating a lot healthier now that I have a food intolerance because it's much easier to choose a healthy thing from, let's say three healthy and two unhealthy things that I'm sure I can eat than from literally anything available that tastes good. There must be some studies for that, maybe it's to do with decision fatigue. Fascinating, really.

  12. I definitely took advantage of the Black Friday deals at Fabletics–can't wait to get my order! Throughout some tumultuous health issues movement has helped me express myself and feel capable, so I appreciate the points you made. ALL the respect for that core strength after multiple surgeries, and thank you for sharing your journey!

  13. Hannah, gotta say that I love your videos, it gives a great insight for us guys into some of the things that women deal with. It has helped me a ton in my daily life, and my friends also seem to appreaciate the little extra knowledge that I have…. Also fun butt montage.

  14. those pockets!! i used to wear sweatpants but the pockets are so small and open. i'm tempted to buy a pair
    also i don't have a stoma but i'm disabled, this will be helpful for me when i start exercising soon, i've been doing physio for the past few months and i think i'm ready to start doing more exercise soon 🤞

  15. Broo me the fuck tooo! I lost 60+ pounds the year after being in hospital after abdominal surgeries. Ive never worked out more than I do now

  16. Hi! Full time yoga teacher here. As someone who teaches public classes as well as private ones, I must say I get really excited when get to work with someone with specific concerns on a one to one basis. Find someone who gives a good discount for booking multiple sessions in a row and it will be worth it, I promise!

  17. You are braver than me. If I had to live with a poop bag, I would rather jump out of the window. Right from the doctor's office. Splash on the pavement

  18. This is wonderful and made me realise how much my perception of exercise has changed since becoming disabled! i used to be a lot more competitive, was on 4 or 5 sports teams every year at school wanted to be the best to help our team win and also just to get better personally. since becoming disabled any kind of exercise is good exercise! sometimes still play competitive games but needing to sit out or not making the team is okay because im still trying my best and any amount i can do is enough

  19. Hey Hannah, I had a personal trainer for a year and I think it’s totally worth the money. It does cost a lot, but just the experience of having them teach you so many things about how to exercise more effectively and what you are capable of, is knowledge that will stay with you even once you don’t have a trainer any more. If you’ve been thinking about it I would definitely go for it 😁

  20. I would really like a video on how to support someone going through a change in their life like getting a stoma, it would be so helpful to hear advice on how to help someone stay positive whilst going through it all xxxx

  21. The end of the video finally answered the question i had at the start of the video.
    You are thinking of what you can do to help your recovery after your next surgery.

  22. I read "How I Exercise with a Stoma" and my goofy mind pictured you on a weight bench lifting a big stoma bag repeatedly like a medicine ball, lol.

  23. I just had minor abdominal surgery, a pacemaker box change. My pacemaker is in my abdomen as opposed to the usual chest area, so that rolling onto your side to sit up and lay down is so relatable 😅😅
    I've been thinking a lot about exercise and strengthening my core, as I have a metal box in that area it can be difficult, so this video was really interesting to help me think about how to build the muscles slowly! Thanks!

  24. Have you considered seeing an exercise physiologist? They are kind of like personal trainers but can help tailor exercises specifically to you based on your disability/medical conditions/health. Would highly recommend!

  25. I use a four prong cane because of balance I walk a lot especially after almost dying 2 years ago and recovering I had lost weight the healthy way and exercised more or I would have died by the time they found me back then. I had to slowly get back into it because I had to relearn how to walk because of being in a coma/semi coma for almost 3 weeks. I learned a lot of exercises I wasn't aware of that I do every day now.

  26. Back when I had my super bad fibromyalgia flare (didn't know at the time), I lost so much strength being bed bound for three straight months. I also had no core by the time I was able to get out of bed so I did the roll on to my side thing – I was a student midwife and remembered how we instructed the ladies to protect their abdominal muscles. My right arm was also paralysed for a while there so I had to use my much weaker left arm to push myself up.
    Thank you for this ❤ it can be really depressing doing at home physio and rebuilding muscle. However, it is something that can happen to anyone and being open about helps decrease the stigma around being gentle with yourself. Not everyone is going to squat 50kg and that's okay!
    Sorry for the ramble but I'm really passionate about this! ❤😚

  27. I forgot that you run. Tbh I had an eating disorder for my entire teenage life so now for some weird reason I’m really attached to my body and don’t want it to change at all and I haven’t gone running because I don’t want to turn into a stick. And now I’m like, welp, Hannah isn’t a stick, I don’t really have much of an excuse now!

  28. Sadly…Hannah was wrong about one thing…
    Legging do not make "any butt look amazing"
    And…NO…not going to upload pictures…it would traumatize folks too much 🙂

  29. Unless you find a really good personal trainer that you trust and knows what their talking about wouldn't get one. Most will not understand your situation and the ones who do will tell you to just keep doing what you are doing. As long as you keep doing cardio and core strength workouts you'll be fine.

  30. I got a hernia trying to teach my son how not to lob a bowling ball. I have an ileostomy, so maybe not the best sport for us. Maybe I was just unlucky

  31. Because you have a stoma….does that mean your butt hole is like as new? Could you return it unused and get your money back? (Just kidding)

  32. you should look into private pilates sessions! I don't know how the cost compares to personal training (especially in the uk) but it sounds like the adaptability of pilates and the resistance equipment might be really valuable to you!

  33. Hello Hannah, I have a stoma myself and have been struggling for a while with comfort and stuff and that hernia support thing looks ideal where can I grab one? And are they expensive hahaha

  34. Personal training is sooo helpful! Make sure you find a good, reliable coach that doesn't have a 'one plan fits all' attitude. Totally worth it booking one or two training sessions a week as a beginner, following their workout plan in your free time as well, and as soon as you know your way around, meeting up once or twice a month should be enough.
    Personal trainers often give you a discount for their private training sessions if you have them regularly.

  35. I'm physically healthy but by mental health is like going on a roller coaster when being afraid of heights. The one really severe depression that I've had (a few years ago now) has definitely changed my mindset around exercise – before it was something I tried to force myself to do in order to become skinny and as some kind of punishment. I tried and tried and tried to like running for YEARS. Nowadays I train martial arts and do weightlifting at a gym and what motivates me is the fact that exercise has been shown to be as effective against mild depression (which I struggle with frequently) as antidepressants.

  36. Hannah- what can I say, you are aa true inspiration. I have severe Crohn’s Disease and have a permanent colostomy. Like most people I initially struggled With the embarrassment and the unwanted farting noises (it happened at work once in a quiet office – So shaming at the time). I am used to it now and operate well on a day to day basis. Exercise has been my bug bear and I have always given excuses not to. Since watching this, you have inspired me to go back and try again. THANK YOU🙋🏾‍♀️

  37. I find training beneficial because it gives me accountability. Also since you work out on your own so much it could be a nice thing to do like once a week to check in where your fitness is, how to challenge yourself without hurting yourself, and help you build a game plan around personal goals. I have a lot of physical and mental barriers and it's helped me a lot in getting confidence and understanding that I can workout on my own and how to modify when classes aren't as accommodating

  38. It’s amazing that this video got both “I’d kill myself if I had a stoma” AND “a stoma doesn’t even make you disabled!!” in the comments. I’m always impressed by how quickly unempathetic people show their arses around the topics of chronic illness and disability. You keep doing you, Hannah, because you are fantastic! I’m also disabled and am excited about exercise, and I find your content both relatable and encouraging, which is an awesome combo. It means a lot. ❤️

  39. So fascinating to hear you point out things like using momentum to get up from the floor like that, just 'cause things like that become super normalised so quickly and I never think of it as 'different'.

    I think your attitude to exercise is great, and I know it can vary a lot for people with disabilities. I feel like I've fluctuated, going from 'yeah I'm gonna do my best to be strong' to 'screw it, my body is shit regardless so no point'. I'm now just happily at a bit of a middleground – not trying to be strong nevessarily, but some exercise to not worsen my condition at a faster rate.

  40. you make superb videos! You're totally solid and I really hope all goes well in the future, you're incredibly resilient xxxx

  41. I'm in grad school in America to become a physical therapist (physio) and I'm unfamiliar with the specifics of healthcare for you. Were you not offered/given/encouraged to access physical therapy after leaving the hospital (either time)? Given the sheer amount of recovery you had to do, I'd be super sad if you weren't. Our whole profession is super keen to be with people through the recovery process.
    I'm happy to see how far you've come, great work!!!

  42. You should definitely try and get a PT! I've had three surgeries on my legs: ACL reconstruction, insertion of metalwork for a broken tibia and fibula, and then the removal of some of that metalwork. Last time I was healthy, I was 16 (7 years ago!) so my body was obviously super weak. I got a PT after finishing physio two months ago, I see her every other week to reduce cost but keep me accountable, and I went back to my physio for a checkup yesterday and she was FLOORED by my progress. Having someone else to push you but also to protect your limits and your safety is amaaaazing and I now go to the gym 3 times a week!

  43. it'll be 5 months on the 9th of December for me, from my midline laparotomy to fix a twisted bowel. Thankfully no stoma was required (despite the consultant warning me that might have been an outcome, prior to me getting anaesthetic for surgery).

    I'm back to Yoga, and recently back to doing kettlebell workouts at home. I need to work on getting my cycling fitness back again (The month before my surgery, I had actually done a 200km cycling event). I am still worried that the twisted bowel may happen again…

    I definitely found returning to regular yoga classes certainly helped my core strength return. Although perhaps I may join a gym to get myself doing some cardio workouts!

  44. You're very blunt; I've seen a few vids. As such, I will be, and apologize. We're all human; butt parts made me twitch. I'm so sorry

  45. Seeing the anti fast fashion stuff on your other channel and then seeing the fabletics sponsorship here was pretty jarring. Subscription clothing companies encourage over-consumption. People who exercise need clothes to exercise in, but nobody needs two new leggings every month. The fast turnover of designs encourages people to keep buying more because they like the new designs even if they already have enough clothes. It's better environmentally to have all the designs available for longer, so that when people actually do need new clothes they can choose a design they really like. But then people would end up buying less, and profits would be lower.
    I know that Hannah needs money to live, and I don't begrudge her the sponsorships, but maybe she could be a little more choosy of which companies she works with.

  46. Not judging people at the gym? Thank you!! I was severely addicted to exercise for years and it was very damaging – chronic muscle pain etc – and now the occasional time I go to the gym I often use very light weights to focus on balancing my muscles properly to not do any more damage. Sometimes I barely break a sweat but I move without punishing myself. I do more light yoga now than anything else and that's what works for me. Everyone is different!

  47. Genuine question; how do you make decisions on whether or not to take brand deals with clothing companies that aren't so sustainable when you are working on your sustainability? Do you weigh pros and cons of the brand and such?

  48. I see a PT once a week and it’s been nearly a year and changed my life. I go to the gym a couple times myself too – can only afford one a week! But it’s so helpful as she shows me new exercises and makes sure I doing them right so then I can work on them myself. And she has an app she stores all the workouts in and the weights I did so I can follow them by myself and work on increasing the weights too. It’s so worth it if you can afford it

  49. Loved this!! I've recently gotten into rock climbing as a way to exercise and I LOVE IT!! My brain feels SO much better after climbing and I love having to figure out maneuvers and work on my strength and flexibility.

  50. Just ordered some leggings hope they are as good as people say they are, so excited to have proper ones not just tesco or primark cheap ones!!!

  51. Hi, Hannah. Thanks for sharing various aspects of your life. In most situations, it would be known as TMI (too much information), but it is part of your career to educate and share, and well, most of us wouldn't share this stuff socially or with others unless they were confidantes of ours. Anyway, I'm a retired professor of physics and we have 9 kids and 20 grandkids. I stumbled across your video about having large boobs which was a problem issue, maybe a year ago? I don't think I have written to you before. I do know a few ladies who are "too big" and have problems finding proper attire, swimming wear, etc. Men never think about it; they just see a large chest and are attracted, not even aware that the lady may, indeed, be uncomfortable. Of course, you are short; my grandmother was two inches shorter than you. First, I want to thank you for your courage to share, and to help others not to believe in myths; second, your personal experiences have helped many young women, I believe, at the same time, letting men understand more about women. Of course, men never want to hear about or talk about menstrual cycles, but they are a part of life. With our many children and grandchildren, I'm pretty much educated on those things. We have three daughters who are mothers, and 13 granddaughters that may well become mothers in the future. Have a great day, and thanks again. I don't watch ALL of your videos, but the ones I've viewed are most postive, IMO. – Dr Dave Menke, Tucson, Arizona, USA. PS: our oldest daughter is named Hannah; she's 39 with 3 kids.

  52. I absolutely agree!! I was never particularly athletic as a kid, but after a few years of medical trauma and coming to terms with disability, I became so much more passionate about health and exercise. I became a rock climber and a yoga instructor and am very interested in cooking and nutrition, and general wellness!!

  53. The butt montage was the best 😍🍑 I am currently taking a Tahitian dance class and I go to a kickboxing gym! I love taking different dance classes and the kickboxing is a great combination of cardio and strength. I haven’t had a personal trainer but it seems like a cool idea that I probably can’t afford. I spend about $135 / month on my 2 memberships.

  54. would a j-pouch put one at less risk of hernia than a permanent stoma? Never realized that a stoma would create a weakness in your abs, even though it seems pretty obv

  55. You’re an incredibly easy person to watch. Your manner is very relaxed and confident. Pro level broadcasting, nice work Hannah. Much love x

  56. Sometimes, I forget that you have only recently had your surgery. You're doing great. Keep inspiring people to maintain their health!

  57. God those pelvic tilt exercises are so BORING!!

    I first saw your channel when you posted your walking stick video, because I'd just started using a cane in public as well and it helped to see another younger woman using one. 💛

  58. It is super hard to lose weight when you don’t have a thyroid gland, and have SBS as well, so I walk a lot but I cannot exercise the way I used to since my EDS has caused more arthritis and chronic fatigue but I try to keep my weight down as best I can

  59. I would recommend seeking out a personal trainer, one who has had additional training for people with disabilities related to stomach surgery. You wouldn't have to see 3 times a week, just someone who could monitor your progress and insure you are exercising properly and to maximum benefit without further injury.

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