How soon after a tummy tuck can I start exercising?

I saved a 7-minute workout video on my computer and I'm eager to try it. I miss my daily exercises much more now that I get to see how amazing my body looks after the tummy tuck. It's been 20 days already. I feel much better, almost able to do all of my previous activities again, but I don't want to damage anything. How long do I still have to wait?

beautyqueen

F, 31, Ohio

First off, it is commendable that you are so enthusiastic to return to your exercise routine. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle based on a nutritious diet and regular exercise is critical to ensuring a beautiful abdominoplasty outcome. Post-surgery exercise can also help encourage blood circulation for a faster recovery and the best results.

The question, however, is when it is safe to resume exercise postoperatively, and the kinds of exercise you should engage in. Plastic surgeons have different recommendations regarding when to resume your exercise regime, and their guidelines often depend on your personal healing process.

In your current stage of recovery (almost three weeks following your tummy tuck surgery) you can probably consider exercise such as light walking or cycling on stationary equipment like treadmills or bikes. This allows for a low intensity workout that promotes blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and also helps to keep your weight stable.

 

Light stretching can also be beneficial at this stage of recovery, but only if your sutures have been removed. You will notice that your abdominal region still feels tight, this is normal and to be expected. Any exercise targeting the abdominal muscles, such as sit ups, should be avoided in this early stage of the recovery process.

More moderate exercise can be performed six to eight weeks after your surgery. Your post-op body will be looking and feeling much better out of your bandages, with the excess skin and belly fat eradicated thanks to the tummy tuck, and the swelling mostly subsided.

However, you still must avoid ab workouts that target the stomach muscles unless your surgeon says otherwise. This is because abdominal exercises can cause stress to the abdominal region, prolonging your recovery. More moderate exercise at this stage usually includes slightly more intense cardiovascular workouts and/or light weight lifting.

After eight weeks it’s usually safe to return to all your exercises and activities. You can carry out an exercise routine such as your 7 minute workout video to lift your heart rate, engage in more strenuous exercise like strength training, and perform exercises that engage all your tummy muscle groups.

Regular, consistent exercise in the months after surgery is the key to maintaining a flat stomach, or even gaining the elusive six-pack abs. Performing the best exercises most suited to each stage of your recovery will help you to achieve and maintain a beautiful abdominal region.

Dr. Robert Brueck has 1 Tummytuck before & after:

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4-6 weeks but ask your surgeon.

Generally, activity can be progressively re-engaged logically with an obvious delay in specific abdominal exercises. One can walk briskly at 3-4 weeks and progressively increase activity over a period of weeks. A key ultimately is to "listen to your body"

Dr. Ludwig Allegra has 1 Tummytuck before & after:

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Approximately four weeks.

Dr. Michael Wojtanowski has 3 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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A major question is whether you had to have your rectus muscles plicated. These muscles are separated during pregnancy, especially after the first. These muscles are typically tightenes up turning an abdominoplasty and are the major source of pain during revovery from ans abdominoplasty. If these muscles were not tightened. You can get back to exercise in just a couple of weeks. But if These muscles are done I Allow my patients to start walking and gently exercising at 14 days but limit significant exercise for a month well these muscles heal together so that you don't rip sutures

Dr. Christopher Park has 2 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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Ask your surgeon what he or she recommends. They would know best what would be safe.

In general, the average person having a Tummy Tuck usually has tightening of the muscles as well.  This ultimately results in a little more down time and most people need 4 weeks off before returning to physical activity.  That said, I have my patients resume light  daily activities including showering, frequent walking, etc within 24hrs of original surgery.

 

Dr. Michael S. Kluska

The Greenbrier Center for Cosmetic Surgery & MedSpa

320 West Main Street

White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986

304- 536- 4870

I tell my patients to wait at least 6 weeks sometimes 8 weeks.  If you had rectus diastasis plication it can take some time for your body to heal and you wouldnt want recurrence of an abdominal buldge.  After 8 weeks it should be well healed.  

Dr. Daniel Schmid has 5 Tummy Tuck before & afters:

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I recommend waiting 8 weeks to all my tummy tuck patients prior to undergoing any aggressive exercise. 


Your operating surgeon would give you the best advice on when it is safe to return to exercise. There are many factors involved, including when your drains were removed (if you even had them) and what type of tummy tuck you had (muscle tightening, skin only, etc). We generally advise patients to resume light exercise after 6 weeks. Patients who undergo muscle repair must wait 6 months to perform abdominal exercises. Each surgeon's recommendation will differ. 

Dr. Peter Butler has 2 Tummytuck before & afters:

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We normally tell our patients between 6 and 8 weeks.

Ask your surgeon. There are many types of abdominoplasties and some would require only a short time off from exercising.

O'Neil Engeron, M.D.

Hello. Thanks for your question. We ask that you be up and walking immediately. You can begin cardio exercise in two week and swim in 3 weeks or when wounds are healed. However, you should check with your surgeon.

You should wait as long as your surgeon recommends, based n what specifically was done for you.  Not all tummy tucks are the same, some require more and some less recovery time.

I would wait on any abdominal muscle exercising until at least 6 weeks post op

In my practice I would start you back into exercise at this time gradually increasing your work out considering you have not done anything for almost three weeks. My rule is how you feel the day after. You feel good do more, you're sore slow down. Listen to your body. That said, I would run this by your surgeon for their approval.

Roger Friedman, MD

Dr. Roger Friedman has 2 Tummytuck before & afters:

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Thank you for sharing your question.  I tell all of my patient not to exercise at all until 30 days has passed from the surgery date.  It is very important to limit your physical activity in these weeks because you could develop Seroma (fluid collection).  You do not want to ruin your beautiful results.  Please wait to exercise.  Ask your Plastic Surgeon who performed the surgery, as some Doctors have different protocol for post operative instructions.  I hope this information is helpful to you.

Best Wishes, Dr. B.

Dr. A. K. Bhattacharya has 2 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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Many patients are eager to get back into their exercise routines following cosmetic procedures, but it is important to follow the advice of your surgeon. Much depends upon the type of surgery performed, as well as how well you tolerated the procedure and how well your recovery is going. Typically you are looking at a minimum of 6-8 weeks before returning to activities that might include exercise. It is extremely important to check with your doctor before starting a routine, no matter how "in-shape" you were prior to your surgery!

I would discuss with your plastic surgeon. I usually tell most patients if they are healing without any problems that they can begin gentle exercise at 1 month and increase their physical activity as tolerated.

For most patients, I recommend waiting at least 3 months (sometimes more like 5) after a tummy tuck before resuming abdominal exercises, so the muscle repair is not challenged too early (which can pull out stitches in the muscle fascia). Other exercises are often permissible sooner. Talk to your surgeon for more direct instructions. Happy recovery!

Dr. Tim Sayed has 2 Breast augmentation (Saline breast implants), Breast lift, Extended abdominoplasty before & afters:

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