Exercise is a very common activity among those who have undergone plastic surgery. But when can you start exercising after plastic surgery? How long do you have to wait? The question is incredibly important to many patients, but it can be difficult to answer because of the variability in both patients and procedures.
When Can You Start Exercising After Plastic Surgery?
That plastic surgery patients like exercise is not uncommon. Surgeons will often not perform certain procedures until a stable weight has been reached. And in other cases, patients are undergoing procedures as a direct result from exercise or diet regiments (this is often the case for body contouring procedures).
We can’t give each and every patient advice (that would be a bad idea anyway), but we can tell you what surgeons generally tell patients to expect. That’s not meant as a substitute for medical instructions or advice, of course. You should talk to your surgeon about all of your recovery instructions.
Let Your Body Heal
The impulse to return to the gym is understandable. You want to get back as quickly as you can so you don’t lose any of the progress you’ve made. For patients that have lost a significant amount of weight, this directive might be even stronger. Whatever weight you happen to be, if you’ve been going to the gym regularly, you’ve put in a lot of work.
The fear of losing all that work is understandable. But the most important thing you can do during your recovery from a plastic surgery procedure is simple: heal. You really do need to give your body time to put itself back together again.
And it might not feel like it. The numbing agents that surgeons give you immediately after a procedure can have you feeling so good that you’re ready to go dancing. (This has, in fact, happened before. Don’t do this unless your surgeon advises you that it’s okay.)
Just remember, the most important thing you can do during your recovery is let your body heal.
Activity Can Be Good
But that doesn’t mean you need to be totally inactive. In fact, a certain amount of activity can actually be good for your recovery. But it’s important to keep that “activity” in line with your surgeon’s expectations. Most surgeons will advise you to walk from the kitchen and back to bed a couple times a day to start with. That’s not the same thing as full on exercise.
So, when, exactly can you start to exercise?
Knowing When to Start Exercising After Plastic Surgery
- Breast Enhancement: Many patients can expect to be back to the gym for light activity a couple of weeks after a breast procedure. Of course, it depends on the procedure (and the technique). However, breast enhancement patients should be particularly careful about any exercise activity that involves lifting or straining the arms.
- Tummy Tuck: In general, tummy tuck can have a pretty long recovery period. It might be 4-5 weeks before your surgeon clears you for strenuous exercise of any kind. In fact, this is one of those procedures that you should definitely be clearing anything you do with your surgeon before you start doing it.
- Facelift: After a facelift, you might be instructed to wait a week or two before starting to head back to the gym. Of course, you’ll want to limit yourself to less intense activity at first, at least until your surgeon gives you clearance to do otherwise.
- Liposuction: This is a tough procedure to gage, really. By all accounts, liposuction is minimally invasive. But it does so much work beneath the surface that patients usually need at least a couple of weeks to recover before they can start going to the gym again. That might seem like a long recovery for such a small incision (it’s only a couple of centimeters long). But your body needs that rest!
There are, of course, many more plastic surgery procedures. And we don’t really have the space to go through them all. But you’ll notice that if you’re having a significant procedure performed, you should count on taking at least a couple of weeks off of your normal exercise routing.
Always Communicate with Your Surgeon
After any plastic surgery, you should communicate regularly with your surgeon. You’ll usually have several follow up appointments already scheduled. And it’s at those follow up appointments that you can set thresholds for what kind of activities you can do (obviously, you should call your surgeon if anything goes awry before that).
When can you start exercising after plastic surgery? Any accurate answer will have to come from your plastic surgeon. And it will depend on how smoothly your recovery actually goes (complications will slow things down every time). But a good rule of thumb is this: the more intense the procedure, the longer you’ll be laid up. Eventually, you’ll get to exercise again. Your body will probably thank you for waiting a reasonable amount of time.