Robert M. Wald, Jr., MD - The Aesthetic Institute
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Exercise After Plastic Surgery – How Soon Is too Soon?

6 Minute Read: 

A woman measuring her waist, wearing gym clothes

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One of the most common questions patients ask after plastic surgery is when they can return to their regular workout routines. Although you may conclude that you have undergone surgery to feel better about yourself and, thus, should continue working out to feel even better, there should be a period of time during which you must refrain from physical activity. You must allow your body enough time to recuperate. Therefore, keeping your exercise regimen undisrupted cannot be your priority during that time. But, how soon can you exercise after plastic surgery? Read on to find out.

Listen to Your Doctor

Before we even begin discussing when and how you can continue working out, you have to understand something. Following your doctor’s orders to the T is of the utmost importance. They don’t set the rules arbitrarily. Each body and every procedure is different. Therefore, you have to go to all your scheduled follow-up appointments. That way, your doctor will assess your healing process and provide you with further guidance. 

A woman doing light yoga

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Every procedure and every body are different. Your doctor will track your healing process and tell you how to resume working out.

While doctors are aware that some physical activity can help accelerate the healing process and further improve surgical results, you have to know that the amount of physical activity will depend on a few factors. Firstly, how much exercise you will be able to withstand will depend on the invasiveness of the surgery. For example, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and liposuction affect your core. Thus, exercise during recovery will be very difficult or impossible. As for breast surgeries or facial rejuvenation procedures, they will also come with a set of rules to follow. Moreover, how much you will be able to do will depend on your own internal healing process. 

So, you must listen to your doctor’s instructions. And when they recommend that you slowly begin getting back to your routine, it’s the time to be very nitpicky. Make sure you know how slow is slow enough. Also, if they say light exercise, what exactly constitutes light. Don’t rush! As the experts from dubaipt.com say, there is something called muscle memory. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about getting back in shape after a few weeks of resting. You will get there pretty quickly.

First Several Weeks After the Procedure

Surgeons agree that during the first 48 hours after surgery, patients shouldn’t be overly active. Regardless of the extent of the surgery, be it a minor brow-lift or you went for a full-blown Mommy Makeover, you must take it easy the first two days. 

After that, you should start slowly. You can expect six to eight weeks to pass before you can go back to the exercise routines you practiced before the procedure. During this time, you will first start walking, then proceed onto more intensive aerobic exercises. In the end, you can return to resistance weight training. Again, there is no need to push yourself. You will be fit again soon after you start moving your body.  

A woman walking, showing an example of a way to exercise after plastic surgery

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Several short walks a day are an excellent way to start exercising after plastic surgery.

Here is an example of what the first few weeks of your recovery should look like:

  • 1st week: Three light, five-minute walks a day
  • 2nd week: You can increase the duration of your walks to ten minutes
  • 3rd week: You can have three 15-minute walks a day
  • 4th week: Take four 15-minute walks, and if your surgeon agrees, start with some light routines
  • 5th week: Slowly go back to your exercise routine
  • 6th week: Start increasing the intensity.

Surgeons typically advise their patients to do low-impact exercises when they begin easing back to their workout routines. Light yoga, stretching, and walking will improve blood circulation, which will help the healing. Moreover, it could reduce the possibility of complications such as blood clots. 

Listen to Your Body

Being in tune with your body is crucial. We all have to learn to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. Therefore, if you feel any pain or discomfort, you must stop with the activity straightaway. Understandably, it can be frustrating if something you did with ease before the procedure becomes nearly impossible. But there is no room for frustration. Your body has gone through something demanding, and you have to give it time to recover and regain strength. Then, you will be able to do everything you did before without any issues. 

It’s critical you don’t jump into your pre-procedure routine immediately. When it comes to exercise after plastic surgery, it is always best to work slowly to increase your energy levels and improve your endurance. 

Supportive Garments Are Beneficial

If your doctor has advised you to get supportive garments, you should do it. And it would be best to wear them during exercise. For instance, a supportive bra is a must after breast procedures. Also, there are special compression garments that patients who have undergone body contouring surgeries should wear while working out. 

A woman wearing a supportive bra

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Supportive garments are necessary after some plastic surgeries.

The Consequences of Exercising too Soon and too Hard After Plastic Surgery

If you stress your body too hard after surgery, you can suffer some consequences. Too vigorous and strenuous exercise too soon after the surgery can negatively impact your healing process. There can be a lot of unnecessary bruising and swelling or fluid buildup. For instance, if you overdo it after a tummy tuck, there could be bleeding or a hematoma. Also, your wound can reopen, which can result in an infection. 

Additionally, if you don’t follow your surgeon’s instructions and exercise inadequately, you can distort the results of your procedure. For example, if you have had breast augmentation surgery and don’t wait an appropriate amount of time before performing chest exercises, the implant can move. 

Exercise After Plastic Surgery Is Beneficial if Done Properly

Your surgeon will recommend that you do some exercise after plastic surgery. It can be helpful for your recovery, but only if you do it correctly. Every responsible surgeon will put your safety first, so it’s in your best interest to follow their instructions. After all, your recovery and the results of the procedure depend on it.

Dr. Wald Looks forward to
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Robert Wald, MD
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