Is it Safe to Exercise After a Colonoscopy?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure to examine the inside of the colon and the rectum, using a special piece of equipment, called a colonoscope. It is a routine procedure to evaluate for colon polyps, inflammation, growths and any other abnormalities that may be present in the colon. It is recommended that you should have your first screening colonoscopy at age 45 if you have no cancer risk factors or abnormal gastrointestinal symptoms.  It is usually performed by a proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon.

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What Does The Procedure Involve?

The colonoscope is a flexible tube with a small camera and light source attached, which can examine the entire length of the colon. During the procedure, the colonoscope will be inserted through the anus and through the large intestine, and possibly into the small intestine, depending on the cause for concern.

There may be some suction applied to remove any fluid or stool that may restrict the camera’s view. Air will be inserted through the colonoscope to give a better view, which is at its optimum as the scope is being withdrawn. If it is deemed necessary, a tissue sample may be taken, using small biopsy forceps that are inserted into the colon through the scope. In addition, small polyps can be removed using special techniques.

Preparation Is Key

Before the colonoscopy is carried out, your colon will need to be cleansed and you will receive instructions for doing so. The preparation may involve a series of laxatives and avoiding solid foods one day before the procedure. In addition, you will be instructed to drink lots of clear liquids the day prior to the procedure, examples of which include fat-free broth, plain tea, water and strained fruit juice. Avoid anything with a red or purple coloring as it may give the impression of blood during the colonoscopy.

You may be told to stop taking any medication that results in a thinning of the blood a few days before the test, as well as avoiding iron supplements a few weeks before, as they can produce a dark colored stool, causing visibility issues during the procedure.

Can I Hit The Gym Now?

There is no denying that a colonoscopy is probably not a procedure many would be looking forward to, however necessary the procedure may be. So you may be looking for a way to relieve the stress and tension afterwards, and for many of us that would involve a trip to the gym – work up a sweat and get a release of endorphins, the feel good chemicals.

If you are a huge fan of exercise and feel like something is missing if you don’t get your gym hit, it is probably best to plan your workouts around your procedure. Having been deprived of solid food for a significant period of time before your colonoscopy, means that you probably won’t have the necessary fuel for a heavy gym session. Pushing it too far will surely leave you feeling faint, dizzy and nauseous.  But don’t worry.  The gym will be waiting for you following adequate  recovery time.

Since you can’t drive yourself home following the colonoscopy,  it probably isn’t safe for you to be heading to the gym or pool. Doctors recommend that you wait at least 12 hours after your colonoscopy to allow the lasting effects of sedative to wear off. And since the preparation you are required to do before your colonoscopy can cause dehydration, you should drink plenty of fluids to fully re-hydrate yourself before you embark on any strenuous physical exercise.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates

The surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, at (310)273-2310, can answer your questions related to a colon evaluation and about any diseases of the colon rectum and anus.  Schedule your confidential consultation and help remain on the path of health.

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