You’ve worked hard to lose weight over the past few years, sticking to a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine. Or, perhaps you’ve been a healthy weight for years and enjoy the myriad health benefits of exercise. Getting plastic surgery such as liposuction can help you complete your weight lose journey while other types of body or facial plastic surgery can give you a boost of confidence.
But what about that exercise routine you’ve established? Won’t that get put on hold if you decide to have surgery? The answer is yes, but it shouldn’t be as bad as you think, as long as you make a plan for getting back into your routine after your surgery.
When Can You Go Back to Exercise After Surgery?
How long you need to put your workout routine on hold after a surgery depends both on the type of exercising you do and the type of surgery you have. Some procedures, such as a tummy tuck, often have you off of your feet for much longer than other types of surgery. In some cases, you’ll have to avoid specific types of exercises after a surgery, as you don’t want to risk knocking or hit the area that you had surgery on.
At the very least, you can expect to take at least two weeks off from a strenuous workout routine or, in some cases, as long as six weeks off. Light exercises can usually be resumed earlier. How healthy you are and how quickly you heal after the surgery also influences when you can safely return to the gym.
Seeing your surgeon for any follow-up appointments gives him the opportunity to evaluate your healing and to make the best recommendations for you based on how you’re faring after surgery.
What Happens If You Workout Too Soon?
Since exercise is generally considered good for you, is it really a big deal if you start working out again too soon afterward? The truth is that exercise is good for you when it’s part of a fitness routine and when your doctor has given you the all-clear. There are plenty of people, including people who haven’t had plastic surgery, who need to avoid certain types of exercise.
The big deal with many types of vigorous exercise is that they can actually interfere with your healing if you pick them up too soon after your surgery. Raising your heart rate and your blood pressure can make it more difficult for incisions to heal and can increase your risk for bleeding and bruising, not to mention swelling.
A sweaty, vigorous workout too soon can also cause your incisions to open or can increase your risk for infection. In the case of rhinoplasty, starting up your workout routine too soon can lead to nose bleeds.
Is Any Type of Exercise OK After Surgery?
While you do want to avoid hitting the gym, participating in team sports, swimming or any other form of exercise that gets your heart rate pumping or that puts some strain on your muscles, you also don’t want to be a couch potato for the next few weeks.
Some exercise, such as taking short walks, is actually ideal after plastic surgery, often starting the day after your surgery. Again, it all depends on the type of procedure you have and your doctor’s recommendation. But more likely than not, your surgeon will encourage some light activity during those first weeks after your surgery, rather than sitting around.
How to Know When You’re Ready for Exercise
You know your body best, but your surgeon can also provide some guidance when it comes to deciding when it’s time to get back in the saddle again. Often, the best course of action is to start slowly and work your way up. You’ve just taken a few weeks off from your routine. It’s unlikely you’re be ready to pick up right where you left off.
When you do start to exercise again, pay attention to yourself. If you feel any discomfort or worse, pain, stop. You can start again the next day or in a few days. Just remember to take it slow. Exercise isn’t a competition or race. You’ll get back up to where you were before surgery, it just might take longer than you’d hoped.
In Houston, Texas, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas regularly works with patients who have put an exercise routine on hold for surgery. If you have any questions about how a particular procedure might affect your typical routine, Dr. Vitenas can answer them. To learn more, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with him today.