Getting back to your day-to-day can be challenging after you’ve undergone an invasive surgery. Getting back to your regular workouts, on the other hand, can be even more so, and should be attempted with extreme caution. Plastic surgeons are extremely clear about this. Not following these warnings may not only hinder your recovery period, but can also cause you serious bodily harm. Many patients fear days of being bedridden, and not being able to enjoy the light of day. This isn’t always the case. Incorporating exercise into your recovery period (the right way) is not only good for you, but it can maximize your results. With the help of your surgeon, finding a workout plan that suits your post-op needs is the best way to stay safe and enjoy getting back to your regular self.
The general rule after undergoing any type of invasive cosmetic procedure is to abstain from any sort of physical activity for the first 48 hours. You will most likely still be groggy from the anesthesia, and in quite a bit of pain or discomfort. It may take 1 to 2 weeks to regain your normal energy levels. When trying to reintegrate exercise post-op, different procedures demand different approaches. Below are some of the more common procedures, and the types of exercise you can do during your recovery period:
Breast Augmentation/Breast Lift/ Breast Reduction Surgery
With any kind of breast related procedures, the main area of concern is the pectoral muscles. During a breast augmentation or reduction, the implants are placed or removed, from beneath the pectoral muscles. These muscles need to heal before you practice any type of upper body workouts. For the first 4 weeks after surgery, you won’t be able to lift anything over 10 pounds. During this time, try focusing on leg exercises, light walking, or stationary cycling. Do not engage in any type of jumping or bouncing activities. You may be able to do certain lower abdominal or core strengthening exercises, but it is best to consult your surgeon for what workout is best for you.
Liposuction/Tummy Tuck Surgery
The recovery period for liposuction and tummy tucks are very similar. For the first two weeks patients are encouraged to start with very slow walking. Patients are required to wear compression garments to help minimize swelling for up to 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. The garment should also be worn while exercising. Liposuction patients, depending on the extent of the procedures and the areas affected, can begin more challenging workouts such as light jogging, cycling, or using an elliptical after 2 weeks. However, when recovering from a tummy tuck patients are required to wait up to 4 weeks before getting into more rigorous exercises. This is because these procedures involve core muscles. It may take up to 8 to 10 weeks before patients are able to perform sit-ups, crunches, or other abdominal exercises. While exercising can definitely maximize the final results of the surgery, it’s always best to consult your doctor before you jump back into your routine.
Facial Procedures (Facelift, Eyelift, Rhinoplasty)
It may seem that recovering from a facial procedure would be the least likely to impede on your post-surgery work out plans, after all we aren’t lifting weights with our head. Actually, these procedures require using a lot more caution when getting back into the gym routine. Your face is covered in small blood vessels, which is why cuts and injuries to the area are often prone to more bleeding and take longer to heal. While you exercise, your heart rate and blood pressure rises, which places stress on these healing blood vessels. Recovering patients who attempt to get back to their regular workout routine too quickly run the risk of developing hematomas. These are small pockets of clotted blood that form under the skin. They can lead to complications, and quite possibly a trip back to the operating room. Exercising can also increase swelling in the face and hinder the healing process. Usually, it’s best to wait about 4 weeks before doing any sort of light cardio. (It looks like you will be spending some time in bed after all. Get your Netflix ready!) By week 6, you should be able to resume your regular workout routine.
Working Out Post Surgery
Overall, working out has great benefits for both your body and mind while recovering. It can also help enhance your final results. The key is to listen to your body when getting back into your workout routine, and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s best to stop. Remember to keep your heart rate and blood pressure down while in recovery. Finally, always consult with your surgeon before you start working out again.
Fun Tip! Post-op yoga can play a great role in your recovery process. While some positions definitely shouldn’t be attempted, yoga is a great way to get you moving while keeping your heart rate low. Just remember to always consult your doctor before engaging in any type of physical activity after surgery.