November 12, 2016

Resuming Exercise after Plastic Surgery – Timeline and Tips

shutterstock_287659067In last month’s article, Dr. Abhay Gupta discussed tips to safely speed up the recovery period. He pointed out that while it is important to move around during the initial recovery in order to help the healing process, strenuous exercise must be avoided. Pushing the body too hard or too soon after surgery could cause serious complications (e.g., swelling, inflammation, infection or excessive scarring).

Since exercising after plastic surgery is a topic that receives a lot of questions, Dr. Gupta thought it would be a good idea to address it in its own post.

How to Incorporate Activity after Surgery

Mild activity is recommended after surgery as soon as you feel ready. The key is to take it slow and steady. Short walks are great for the healing process, and increase circulation as well as the flow of oxygen. Depending on the procedure, gentle stretching might feel good, too.

Here’s a typical timeline for incorporating activity after surgery:

First week after surgery: Take three five-minute walks per day. You can walk around the house or in your driveway (don’t go too far!). Try not to increase your heart rate.

Second week after surgery: Increase your time to 10-minute walks; take three a day. Go a bit farther if you feel comfortable. Keep your heart rate slow and steady.

Third week after surgery: Up it to three 15-minute walks per day. Walk around the block slowly. Refrain from increasing your heart rate or becoming too winded.

Weeks four through six: Gradually add more activity into your routine (if Dr. Gupta clears you to do so). This could include jogging, swimming, yoga or aerobic-type exercise. Stick to what you know — now is not the time to try a new type of exercise.

Weeks six through eight: Continue to build up your endurance. Listen to your body and follow Dr. Gupta’s instructions closely. Don’t try to make up for lost time or hit the gym too hard on your first time back, as that could cause problems.

About eight weeks after surgery, you should be close to resuming your normal activity level. If something feels off, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Gupta for his advice.

Note: This information is for general purposes only. Dr. Gupta will provide detailed instructions for your recovery from plastic surgery.

Learn More about Recovering from Plastic Surgery

For more information about the recovery process, contact Dr. Gupta at his San Diego plastic surgery practice by calling (858) 621-6000 or sending an email.

Fun Fact of the Month: You might “exercise” on a daily basis more than you think: it takes 70 muscles to speak a single word.