Can I exercise when I have a hernia?

Monday, April 12, 2021

Do you suspect you have a hernia and wonder if it is safe to exercise?

Although it is possible to safely exercise with a hernia, you are at risk for making the hernia worse. To be safe, we recommend you first schedule a consultation with an experienced hernia surgeon to determine how serious your hernia. Not only can they help you determine best treatment options, a hernia specialist can also advise you on how to exercise safely both before and after treatment.

Most hernias will need to be surgically repaired, so it is important to not delay treatment. Early intervention will prevent your symptoms from getting worse, making the surgery easier and reducing the time needed out of work or activities for recovery.

How to exercise safely

Once you’ve discussed with your doctor and have been given clearance to exercise, you’ll want to follow some some general guidelines for exercising safely. Here are a few tips we suggest:

1) Focus on your breathing.

Don’t hold your breath while exercising; Breathe out when you are exerting yourself and breathe in as you relax. You can decrease the pressure in your abdomen and reduce the instinct to strain by concentrating on your breathing during exercise.

2) Wear protective undergarments.

Protective underwear similar to compression shorts can help support your groin and lessen any unnecessary exertion while exercising.

3) Continue light exercise.

Because obesity is a risk factor for hernias, we do recommend you continue light exercise, unless prohibited by your doctor.  

Exercises to avoid when you have a hernia

  • Avoid heavy exertion exercises, such as weightlifting, that cause you to strain.
  • Do not over stretch your abdominal wall. Movements that lengthen the abdominal muscles, such as an upward dog position in yoga put strain on the muscle walls and should be avoided.
  • Core exercises such as planks, sit-ups, crunches and some Pilates exercises.
  • High impact physical activities or contact sports.

About the Hernia Center of NGMC

At the Hernia Center of NGMC, our surgeons specialize in hernias. Each surgeon performs between 15 to 30 hernia surgeries a month. This means by choosing the Hernia Center of NGMC, you are getting surgeons who are highly experienced and offer the highest quality surgical care possible. In fact, our surgeons at the Hernia Center have been recognized by Surgical Review Corporation for their quality outcomes and expertise.  You can trust that you will receive the highest quality care possible at the Hernia Center.