My name is Hannah and I have a low profile feeding tube. These tips are what have worked for me in my fitness journey, but please be wise and careful of your own needs and abilities!
Tip #1: Start At Home
If working out is totally new to you, congratulations for starting!!! I’d recommend starting your work out practice at home. This may be totally new for your body and your feeding tube and it may get a little messy or hard, which is better to deal with at home than in a new gym environment. There are so many different types of work outs online or you could even sign up for my at home no equipment needed work out plan!! You can try them all out in the comfort of your own home where you have all the supplies you need in any situation! As you learn what works for you and what you enjoy you can move outside or to a gym and know better how your body may respond and what you need to do. This leads us right into our next tip!
Tip #2: Be Prepared
Believe me, I know fully well that our bodies can be very temperamental. One day I can have no pain, no leakage from my stomach tube, and feel on top of the world. The next day I could do the exact same exercise and go through 20 gauze pads because my feeding tube leaked so much and hurt badly. I never know what to expect so it’s always best to be prepared. Before going out on a run or even doing a workout at home I get prepared. I have a stack of gauze pads ready to go, I put my favorite barrier cream, Bedrock Skin, around my feeding tube to create a protective barrier around it to prevent leaks, and I have tissues close by in case I need one. My pockets look silly when I’m running with all this gauze and tissue but I’d MUCH rather be prepared than not!
Tip #3: Know Yourself
While it is crucial to be prepared physically with supplies, it is just as important to be prepared mentally. You know your body better than anyone else does. Maybe before starting a new work out routine start tracking things like energy, times of day you’re in pain, ability to workout in relation to when you eat for a few weeks to gain better insight. This can easily be done in a notebook or on your phone. You can set up different categories like pain, hunger, energy levels, etc. and then mark what time of day you experience those over a few weeks and try to identify any trends. You may be surprised!
Tip #4: Try New Things
I’ll be totally honest. I was the girl who thought cardio was the only form of exercise for a VERY long time. In 2018 I intentionally moved my body every day and that looked a lot of different ways. Some of them worked great for my feeding tube and medical needs, some were terrible. High intensity interval training is a great work out, but not great for my body. It often resulted in too much pressure on my feeding tube, and too many jarring movements. Yoga has been an awesome discovery, but there are definitely moves I have to modify to not put so much pressure on my feeding tube. This year I discovered weight lifting and it has been life changing. Weight lifting is often slow and deliberate movements in the arms, back, hips, and legs and not often much pressure put on my feeding tube. Again, this is just my body and my experience but it has worked very well for me and it’s been really fun to gain muscle!
Tip #5: Have Fun!!
Let’s be completely honest. Chances are you have been told many times in your life there are things you can’t do for whatever reason. As we’ve talked about though, we know our bodies better than anyone else and I always want to try new things and see what happens. It’s all a process and you should have fun with it! Working out has so many emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical benefits and can be very empowering. It’s also a great source of community and connection with others and is a great addition to any life!
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