Many people who choose to move forward with a tummy tuck procedure do so to get back a tight, fit-looking waistline. Whether a person has a tummy tuck to address a loose muscles following pregnancies, or to sculpt the body after weight loss, maintaining a healthy lifestyle post-operation is very important. This brings up a big question question: How soon can a patient return to their exercise routine after a tummy tuck?
Slow and Steady Exercise
While regular exercise is a positive lifestyle choice, jumping back into a rigorous routine can make recovery difficult. When starting physical activity after a tummy tuck procedure, it is best to start slow.
- Two Weeks Post Surgery: Once the soreness has faded, light activity such as walking on a level surface can begin. This will give a patient the opportunity to get their body moving again and will also aid in the recovery process.
- Four Weeks Post Surgery: For those who enjoy weight lifting as part of their personal fitness routine, this activity can resume in moderation. Even after this point, light weights need to be used as to not aggravate the incision area. Slowly over time, a patient can begin to add more weight and repetitions to their routine.
- Six to Eight Weeks Post Surgery: When it comes to abdominal specific exercises like crunches, a patient will need to wait for up to six months or more to add this activity back into their exercise routine. Even though the muscles in the abdomen will be nearly 90% healed by this time, these muscle groups need to be at 100% before being subjected to such strenuous, muscle-specific exercise.
Following the Doctor’s Instructions
Even though a person may start feeling well enough to resume their daily activities, it doesn’t mean they should. I can’t express enough how important it is to stick to the guidelines set forth by your doctor – these guidelines are in place to ensure a patient’s safety as well as an optimal recovery. When a patient pushes ahead too early with an exercise routine that is too strenuous, they put themselves at risk for several reasons:
- Medications (particularly narcotics) administered to alleviate pain after a tummy tuck can react on a person much like one too many cocktails. The lack of coordination and muscle control can make working out dangerous.
- During a good workout, a patient’s heart rate and blood pressure increase. These spiking levels can cause bleeding at the site of the operation and can lead to further complications including the potential need for re-operation or less than ideal tummy tuck results.
- Strenuous exercise (especially stomach crunches) can damage the muscles and skin closure.
Maintaining Desired Results
Once a patient makes the decision to move forward with a tummy tuck procedure, it is important to follow it through to the end. Pushing a strenuous exercise routine too soon after surgery can jeopardize the results a patient has worked so hard to accomplish.