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Exercise Do’s and Don’ts for Hernia Patients

By StatusMessagesQuotes Mar 1, 2024
hernia surgery

Living with a hernia can present challenges, especially when it comes to exercise. While physical activity is important for overall health and well-being, it’s crucial for hernia patients to approach exercise with caution. Understanding which exercises are safe and beneficial, and which ones to avoid, can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. In this guide, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of exercise for hernia patients, providing valuable insights and recommendations.

Understanding Hernias:

Before we talk about what exercises are good for hernias, let’s quickly go over what a hernia is. A hernia happens when something inside your body pushes through a weak spot in the muscle or tissue that usually holds it in place. It can create a lump or bulge under your skin, especially when you push on that area.

Types of Hernias:

There are various types of hernias, each named based on their location:

  • Inguinal Hernia: This is the most common type of hernia and occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. Inguinal hernias typically appear as a bulge in the groin or scrotum.
  • Hiatal Hernia: This type of hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. Hiatal hernias can cause symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Umbilical Hernia: Umbilical hernias occur when tissue protrudes through the abdominal wall near the belly button (umbilicus). They are most common in infants but can also occur in adults, particularly in women who are pregnant or have had multiple pregnancies.
  • Incisional Hernia: This kind of hernia occurs where you’ve had surgery before. It happens when tissue pushes through a weak spot in the muscle around the area where you had the operation.

Exercising with Hernia. Safe or not?

Exercise can be okay for some people who have hernias, but it’s important to be careful. To avoid putting too much stress on your hernia, stick to activities that won’t strain that area. It’s not a good idea to do exercises or lifting that put pressure on your abdomen if you have an abdominal hernia. However, there are plenty of exercises you can do safely. To stay safe, it’s a good idea to work out with a qualified personal trainer or a physiotherapist who knows what’s safe for you. Before you start any exercise routine, especially if you have a hernia or are recovering from hernia surgery, it’s best to talk to your doctor first.

Exercise Do’s for Hernia Patients:

1. Consult with a Healthcare Professional: Before you begin exercising, it’s important to talk to a doctor, especially one who knows about hernias. They can give you advice that fits your own situation and medical background.

2. Focus on Low-Impact Activities: Opt for low-impact exercises that minimize strain on the abdomen and pelvic area. Walking, swimming, cycling, and gentle yoga are excellent choices for hernia patients.

3. Strengthen Core Muscles: Strengthening the muscles surrounding the hernia can help provide support and stability. However, it’s crucial to avoid exercises that directly target the abdominal muscles, such as sit-ups or crunches. Instead, focus on exercises that engage the core without placing excessive pressure on the abdomen, such as pelvic tilts, planks, and bridges.

4. Maintain Good Posture: Proper posture is essential for reducing strain on the abdomen and supporting the spine. Practice maintaining a neutral spine alignment during exercise and everyday activities.

5. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to exercise. If you experience pain, discomfort, or worsening symptoms, stop immediately and consult with your healthcare provider.

6. Gradually Increase Intensity: Start with light intensity and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts over time. This gradual approach allows your body to adapt and reduces the risk of exacerbating hernia symptoms.

Exercise Don’ts for Hernia Patients:

1. Avoid Heavy Lifting: Heavy lifting can exacerbate hernia symptoms and increase the risk of complications. Avoid lifting heavy objects, and if lifting is necessary, use proper lifting techniques and engage the leg muscles rather than the abdominal muscles.

2. Steer Clear of High-Impact Activities: High-impact activities such as running, jumping, or intense aerobics can place excessive strain on the abdomen and pelvic area, worsening hernia symptoms. Avoid these activities and opt for low-impact alternatives instead.

3. Say No to Straining: Straining during bowel movements or while lifting heavy objects can increase intra-abdominal pressure and potentially worsen hernia symptoms. Practice relaxation techniques and avoid activities that require excessive straining.

4. Skip Exercises that Target the Abdominal Muscles: Directly targeting the abdominal muscles with exercises like sit-ups, crunches, or leg raises can increase pressure on the hernia and may lead to complications. Avoid these exercises and focus on strengthening the core muscles indirectly.

5. Don’t Overdo It: Exercise is good, but doing too much can make you tired, strain your muscles, and make it easier to get hurt. Pay attention to how your body feels and don’t push yourself too far.

6. Don’t Ignore Warning Signs: If you experience sudden or severe pain, changes in the appearance of the hernia, or other concerning symptoms, seek medical attention promptly. Ignoring warning signs can lead to complications that may require surgical intervention.


Exercise can be an essential component of managing hernia symptoms and promoting overall health and well-being. However, it’s crucial for hernia patients to approach exercise with caution and follow the do’s and don’ts outlined in this guide. By consulting with a healthcare professional, focusing on low-impact activities, and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms, hernia patients can safely incorporate exercise into their daily routine. Remember to listen to your body, prioritize proper form and technique, and seek medical attention if any concerns arise. With the right approach, exercise can play a valuable role in supporting hernia management and improving quality of life.

By StatusMessagesQuotes

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