One of the first questions patients ask when consulting with their cosmetic surgeon is, “How soon can I exercise after plastic surgery?”
While patients should limit their activity for the first 48 hours after undergoing any type of plastic surgery, they can gradually increase their level of activity as their strength increases and any discomfort begins to subside. It’s important to note that because exercise increases blood flow and blood pressure, it can also increase swelling after surgery.
The following are general guidelines regarding how soon you can expect to resume certain types of exercises after the three main types of plastic surgery: abdominal/body (tummy tuck), breast lift/augmentation, and surgeries of the face and neck:
The tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and stretch marks from the upper and lower abdomen. This allows for the tightening of the abdominal muscles. And because muscle repair is a big part of the tummy tuck recovery process, exercise in its most basic form—light cardio—shouldn’t begin until at least four (4) weeks after surgery. Walking around the block, however, can begin as early as two (2) weeks. Heavy cardio, weight training and abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups, shouldn’t begin earlier than ninety (90) days after surgery,
Due to the nature and location of breast lift or augmentation surgery, it’s recommended that any exercises involving the pectoral muscles be resumed no earlier than six (6) weeks after the procedure. However, light cardio, such as riding a stationary bike or walking, can begin after two (2) weeks. Heavier cardio (jogging or aerobics) and weightlifting can begin four (4) weeks after surgery.
After facial surgery, such as a facelift, light exercise (walking or slowly riding a stationary bike) shouldn’t begin until at least two (2) weeks after surgery. And because heavy cardio (jogging and aerobics) raises your blood pressure, which can cause unnecessary swelling and discomfort, it shouldn’t resume until after week four (4). Weightlifting should not resume until six (6) weeks after surgery.
As always, though, make sure to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. If doing a particular type of exercise is uncomfortable in any way, stop doing it immediately. You can work your way back up to it in time.
While these are only guidelines and tips regarding exercise after plastic surgery, everybody’s different, so the timelines might vary from patient to patient. Getting a consultation from a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Pollock at North Dallas Plastic Surgery will give you a better idea what you can expect regarding exercise after plastic surgery.