Exercise After Surgery: When Is It Safe To Start To Working Out Again?

Patients often ask when they can begin exercising again after plastic surgery. If you’re a fitness junkie, it’s certainly hard to let a day pass by without hitting the gym. However, not exercising for a while is something that you need to do in order to recover normally.

Keep in mind that if you immediately start to exercise after surgery, you’re going to put yourself at risk of post-surgical complications. You may even end up requiring revision surgery. You only have to rest for a short while after a cosmetic procedure, and you can slowly ease yourself into your old exercise routine. However, when you can do that depends on different factors.

Why You Should Not Exercise After Surgery?

It is highly recommended that you do not exercise immediately after plastic surgery due to the risks involved. After an invasive surgery, where incisions are made on the body, you will need stitches. And if you pull on the stitches (internal or external), which can happen during exercising, the wound can reopen (wound dehiscence). This increases the risk of infection, which can increase the size of the wound.

Another reason why you have to avoid exercise after surgery is that it can increase your heart rate. And this can increase the risk of bleeding, and you’ll end up with more swelling. It is also possible for you to end up displacing an implant (used in certain surgical procedures), which will affect the final results of the treatment.

Also, sweating is naturally a part of exercising, but that also poses a risk of infection while the wound is trying to heal. It is important that you take it easy during recovery and listen to your body. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with even more pain and discomfort, and it will also take longer for your wounds to heal.

How Long After Plastic Surgery Can You Exercise?

When you can begin to exercise after surgery depends on the type of surgery you had and the area of the body that was operated on. There are different aftercare requirements for face and body surgeries. And the lifestyle of the individual can also determine how soon they can start to exercise after surgery. Also, it’s not that you’re not allowed to move at all.

After any type of plastic surgery, you have to start out slow and ease into your normal exercise routine (usually after a few months). Moving around will help with blood circulation. This can, in fact, help with healing. These small exercises can also help you sleep better, which is something that plastic surgery patients can struggle with.

Exercise after surgery can also help you stay in a positive mindset throughout recovery. But, there’s a right time for everything. The following is what’s generally recommended. However, make sure to consult your doctor before engaging in any kind of exercise since every patient is unique.

When Can You Exercise After Breast Surgery?

After breast surgery, whether augmentation, reduction, or breast lift, you can begin by taking short walks for a few minutes 3-4 times a day. This can also help reduce the risk of the formation of blood clots.

Once you do start walking, you can consider increasing the duration of the walks (slowly). Keep in mind you may not be able to start walking immediately because general anaesthesia can make you feel drowsy and dizzy for 1 day after the surgery.

Usually, patients are advised against any strenuous activity (exercise, lifting and straining) for at least 6 weeks after surgery. Regardless, you should first consult your surgeon.

Lifting & Core Exercises

If you did weightlifting exercises like curls, chest and shoulder presses, or push-ups, your surgeon might advise against engaging in it for at least 6 weeks after breast surgery. Since the scar of the breast surgery is close to the abdomen, you may also have to avoid any abdominal exercises, like planks, flutter kicks, or Russian twists.


Also, as far as yoga is concerned, you should not do that either for at least 6 weeks. Poses that involve back bending or twisting can strain the stitches. Avoid positions that make your breasts “hang” or require you to stretch.


You can start light cardio after 6 weeks, but it’s better if you gradually work up to the more intense exercises. As far as swimming is concerned, usually, you are okay to start doing it a month after the surgery. Before that, the constant stretching can put tension on the wounds and being under the sun (if you’re on a beach) can also increase the risk of infection.

When Can You Exercise After Liposuction? 

When it comes to liposuction, exercise after surgery can help you maintain the results of the procedure. However, you should first start with gentle walking (that doesn’t make you sweat) and increase its duration gradually.

Usually, surgeons recommend holding off on any strenuous exercise after surgery for at least 1 month. You may start with light cardio, like walking on the treadmill, after about 4 weeks. You can also start swimming after a month has passed.

Keep in mind that liposuction can be performed on multiple areas of the body like the abdomen, back, buttocks, thighs, and arms. The kind of exercises that you can perform will depend on the area(s) where liposuction has taken place. Make sure you consult your surgeon first.

When Can You Exercise After Tummy Tuck?

During the first few days after a tummy tuck, you might have mild swelling, pain, and throbbing. This is why you might be advised against exercising. Although in this case, too, short, gentle walks are encouraged because they can improve blood circulation and help with the healing of the wounds. However, have someone accompany you because you might have balance issues.

It might be difficult for you to stand up straight for a few weeks, but it’s only temporary. You might feel tautness, which is why you should avoid any exercise that can put tension on the surgical area. 

For a period of six weeks, you should not be lifting, pushing, or pulling anything. And that includes swimming. Some patients also get a combination of procedures like liposuction with a tummy tuck and, sometimes, also a breast surgery. In that case, you might have to hold off on exercise for a little bit longer. 

When Can You Exercise After Facial Surgery?

After undergoing facelift surgery, you have to avoid any strenuous activity for 2 weeks, while you need to hold off lifting anything heavy for 3 weeks. Till 4 weeks after the surgery, you should not do any exercise that involves turning the head.

If you had rhinoplasty, your surgeon might advise you to not engage in any activity that physically exerts you for at least 3 weeks. You can walk as much as you like, but make sure to take it easy.

After you’ve had eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), surgeons usually advise against lifting anything heavy or engaging in strenuous exercise till the end of the third postoperative week. The increased blood flow to the face can increase the risk of bleeding. It can also cause more bruising and swelling. However, you can start doing light walks 3 days after surgery.

What Are The Benefits Of Exercise After Surgery?

Although you can only do light exercises for some time after surgery, they can still be beneficial to you in the following ways:

Improvement In Brain Health, Mood & Energy 

Interestingly, exercising can actually improve your memory. It helps the hippocampus of your brain to grow, which is involved in memory and learning. It is especially helpful for older adults as it has been shown to improve cognitive functioning.

Daily exercise can also leave you feeling relaxed and happy. Getting exercise in the morning will help you feel fresh and energized throughout the day. A good workout will also help you let off some steam if you’re feeling angry.

Better Sleep 

You use energy for burning calories during exercise, which is why you feel depleted afterwards. But this actually improves the quality of your sleep as you recuperate. You will sleep faster, longer, and deeper, which is why this exercise is encouraged for a goodnight’s sleep.

Stronger Muscles & Bones 

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a good exercise regimen will help you maintain healthy bones, increase muscle strength and coordination, and keep you in better overall shape. Therefore, you’ll feel more strengthened while you’re recovering from your procedure.

Also, one study published in the Journal of Gerontology shows that, in adults, wound healing can speed up by 25% through exercise. So, whenever you can, do exercise after surgery, but without over-exerting your body.


Generally, surgeons recommend that you resume your normal exercise routine 4-6 weeks after plastic surgery. However, this can change depending on the type of procedure you had and your anatomy. Usually, you can start walking after undergoing a cosmetic procedure. It is encouraged and even considered helpful in wound healing. However. this does not mean that you should tire yourself out.

You have to make sure to listen to your body, and whenever you don’t feel up to it, you should stop and relax. It’s just as important as exercising. Also, keep in mind that you should always first consult your surgeon about when you can exercise after surgery since each patient is unique and aftercare requirements can vary.

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