Paddling after hernia surgery

Okay, I now have to admit I’m getting older. I’ve paddled with back problems for years - meds and paddling a canoe where I can switch between sitting and kneeling. However, I am now recovering from my first hernia surgery and the thought of selling my canoes is in my head daily.

I can’t seem to get a straight answer from the doctors as to whether I should be paddling (after the “recovery time”). Does anyone have experience paddling after such surgery?



After recovery
I taught a 3 day sea kayak course 4 days after my surgery. I know of no reason why you could not continue to paddle after a hernia opperation. Just give your self a bit more time to recuperate than I did.


I gave it a few weeks rest
at least

Generally 3-4 weeks
no heavy lifting ie nothing over 5-10 lbs. The paddling itself should be ok after a week… but get someone to carry and load/unload your boat.

Get a new doctor and don’t get rid…
of the canoe.

I had hernia operation two years ago at age 68.

I asked the doctor when I could get back to building a bunk house I was working on and paddling.

He said to do nothing for the first four days, (until after the first check up).

After the first checkup he said don’t do any heavy lifting for a week or two and then ease back into my normal routine.

He said if I felt any pain to back off.

I think I raced in a minimum of twenty races last year. Some canoe and some kayak.



I had a double hernia in Jan and I still feel pain during a hard workout

it was about 4 weeks before I paddled very much

Good Grief! Don’t stop paddling!
I’ve had multiple abdominal surgeries, including two for hernias. The doctors all told me that if it hurt, stop doing what I was doing, but otherwise, I was fine. They all want an initial recovery time before they’ll clear you for certain activities, but after that, you shouldn’t be at any more risk for creating a new hernia than the general population. At least that’s what my doctor told me.

Thanks all.
My doctor said 4 to 6 weeks without heavy lifting (15 lbs max). The trick being that you feel better much sooner and have to hold back. I’m doing the best I can with two young ones in the house.

My canoes weigh 40 and 60 lbs, and on a portage, 70lbs is certainly reasonable. Also, on local waters, I often go alone. Worst case scenario is if I’m out with my son and I have a problem.

Anyway, thanks for all the input. It is very helpful. I guess I have to wait and see how I feel and be a bit more cautious when I’m out.

Thanks again.


Deep Sympathy on your Approaching Surger
I am very sorry to hear about your approaching surgery and the recovery time that will be involved.

I think you should consider retiring from paddling. You can significantly reduce the distress related to paddling withdrawl by giving your canoe to an appreciative and truely sympathetic person. Just think of the vicarious pleasure you will feel knowing that I am happily paddling away with your canoe in the Pine Barrens.

Again, I am very very very sympathetic.

p.s. I had hernia surgery and was paddling just fine that summer. I wish I had done some stretching exercises earlier in my recovery, because, three years later, my right side is noticeably tighter than my left.

No portaging.

In my experience
the first tore open after a wk (in bed) , that was the ole pull the muscle over an stich . I got a “patch” the 2nd time . It’s still holding after 8 yrs. Got back to guiding in 2 months , but that’s the way my body works , a good DOC will tell ya they really can’t say , just like they’ll tell ya how long it MAY last . Go slow , ease into activity even if ya are active , see how YOU FEEL . And there are different type’s of hernia’s .Good health -happy paddlin -m

Thanks for caring SOOOO much
And you will, with the utmost sympathy, send me photos of my Dagger Legend 15 enjoying itself on the Mullica. You are right, poor little OT Northern Light collecting dust in my garage.

And with a consoling pat on the back will happily come and pick up both canoes and any loose gear I have laying around.

See, the paddling community is just one big, caring family. :wink: