Getting back to the Gym: How Long Should you wait to Work Out after Surgery?

Getting back into the habit of exercising regularly following a cosmetic surgical procedure is an important step in maintaining your results, but it’s important not to push it too fast. Depending on the surgery you have undergone, recovery times will vary and it’s imperative that you follow the instructions of your surgeon, regardless of any guides or tips you find online. This is meant to be a rough guide for planning purposes only, not to replace the very important post-surgery instructions of your doctor!

Exercise After Surgery

One of the most common cosmetic procedures, abdominoplasty or a “tummy tuck,” is a procedure to remove loose of excess skin in the abdominal region. This skin may be the result of pregnancy, weight loss, or simply poor elasticity of the skin. The treatment aims to remove the excess fat and skin between the patient’s navel and pubic area while tightening connective tissue, muscle and, if necessary, repositioning the belly button.

Because this is an involved and somewhat traumatic procedure for the body, it is recommended that patients take it slow when returning to the gym during their recovery period. For the first few weeks following your procedure you will be required to limit your exercise to walking as you’ll still have drainage tubes and sutures in place. Your doctor will tell you to take it easy and only walk if you are able to comfortably, increasing intensity as you recover.

After about four weeks following your surgery you will be able to move on to light exercise including walking, cycling, and walking on a treadmills. Maintain a low intensity and stretch lightly to increase your flexibility. Be sure to clear all exercises with your doctor before increasing intensity or moving on to more strenuous activities. It will take about 6 to 8 weeks to fully recover and be able to return to the gym. Heavy lifting and exercises targeting the abdominal area will still be prohibited until approved by your physician.

Most cosmetic procedures will be less stressful on the body and require a shorter recovery time than abdominoplasty, which will allow the patient to return to their regular exercises sooner. The most important factor in your recovery is listening to your body and not expecting that you will be able to jump right back into your normal exercise routine immediately. Give yourself time to recover and you will feel back to normal in no time!

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