POSTED 21st February 2017

How to reintroduce exercise after surgery

When you’ve had plastic surgery it’s understandable that you will want to do all you can to get back to normal as quickly as possible. If you’re used to an active lifestyle and a regular exercise routine it can be frustrating to have to sit back and take it easy in the days and weeks after surgery. However, the need for rest and recuperation cannot be underestimated – if you try to do too much too soon you risk prolonging your recovery further still.

In this article, we look at how to safely reintroduce your exercise routine after surgery.

Immediately after surgery

Generally speaking, the fitter you are before surgery the quicker your recovery, but everyone’s body responds differently. While some people will feel fit and well a few hours after anaesthetic, others may still feel tired for up to a week. Bruising and swelling will vary from patient to patient, and different people’s skin will heal more quickly than others. So, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to recovery. What’s important is to take note of how your body is recovering and avoid overdoing it.

Of course, the reintroduction of exercise will depend upon the procedure you’ve had carried out, how your body responds to surgery, and the type of exercise you wish to do. There are clear benefits to getting mobile again after surgery.

Whether you’ve had a facial treatment such as a facelift or rhinoplasty, or a body treatment such as tummy tuck or breast implants, moving around after surgery will aid your circulation, helping you to feel well and prevent serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When you’ve recovered from your anaesthetic you’ll be encouraged to walk a little and to sit up in an armchair during the day rather than recline in bed. Also, a bit of gentle movement to your skin will help to keep it supple and stop it feeling so ‘tight’ around the affected area.

Building up your mobility

Unless you’ve had multiple procedures it’s likely you’ll feel well enough within two or three days to take a short, steady walk in the fresh air. You’ll need to be careful not to overdo it – don’t try to walk too far or too fast. Wear the dressing you’ve been supplied with and if you begin to feel any discomfort, listen to your body and take a rest. Only do as much as you feel comfortable doing – there is no benefit in pushing yourself to do more.

If you like to do more physical exercise, such as go to the gym, run or cycle, you will need to wait until after your follow-up appointments. Exercising too soon could cause damage to your wound and lead to pain or discomfort. We will want to ensure your healing is progressing properly before you put your body through its paces with an aerobic workout.

If you like to swim, then you’ll need to wait until your stitches have been removed and/or your wound has healed completely. If you swim too soon you run the risk of getting an infection.

Getting back to normal

Even when you’re given the all-clear to exercise again, you’ll need to be patient – it can take several months before you can safely exercise like you did before surgery. So, when you do reintroduce swimming or any other type of exercise, keep your first few sessions to a minimum and listen to your body – it’s best to under-exercise at this stage and build up over the medium rather than the short-term. Also, you’ll need to think about any support clothing you may need – a soft, well-fitting sports bra if you’ve had breast surgery, for example.

Being prepared

Before you undergo surgery, we will be able to give you lots of information about the recovery process so that you are well prepared and have realistic expectations about the impact of surgery on your lifestyle. We will be here to support you throughout your recovery, helping you get back to your former active lifestyle as quickly as possible.

To book your initial consultation please get in touch.