Staying Active with a Hernia

Hernia Info Authors

Hernias are a common medical condition that occurs when an internal organ or tissue pushes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue.1 Most hernias are caused by a combination of pressure and an opening or weakness of muscle or connective tissue. While muscle weakness may be present at birth, an increase in abdominal pressure or certain risk factors may make you more prone to developing hernias later in life.2

As always, consult your doctor before beginning or resuming an exercise regimen, or if you have questions or concerns regarding exercising.

Why Staying Active Is Important 

Regular exercise and physical activity can help strengthen hernia-supportive muscles, improve posture, reduce pressure on internal organs, and maintain a healthy body weight—all of which can aid in reducing the risk of developing a hernia.³ However, if you need to engage in heavy lifting, it’s important to abide by proper lifting techniques to help decrease your chances of developing a hernia. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

Workouts to Avoid with a Hernia

If you have a hernia, it’s important to be cautious when it comes to certain movements or workouts. Make sure to focus on exercises that won’t strain the area where your  hernia is located. Again, be sure to check with your doctor before you engage in any exercises, but as a rule of thumb, you should avoid:4
  • High impact physical activities or contact sports.
  • Weightlifting that may cause heavy exertion or pressure.
  • Overstretching.
  • Core exercises or exercises that involve pulling or pushing (planks, sit-ups, crunches).5

Learn about Proper Lifting Techniques →

Potential Workout Options If You Have a Hernia

We can't say it enough, but it is important to check with your doctor before engaging in any exercises. Everyone is different, and has different risks associated with their own individual medical condition. To avoid aggravating or worsening your hernia, it’s best to stick to low-impact activities when exercising, such as:4

  • Gentle yoga or stretching 
  • Walking 
  • Swimming/water aerobics 
  • Biking


The guidance provided in this article follows general rules that should be discussed with your doctor. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not substitute for medical advice. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.

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