Exercising Tips After Tummy Tuck Surgery
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Exercising Tips After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Now that you have successfully completed your tummy tuck, you are probably wondering what exercise methods are safe to do, and when you can start doing them. Special care must be taken during the post-recovery period of any surgical procedure, so as to not increase the risk of accidental tissue tearing or bleeding. Unfortunately for avid gym-goers, this means staying away from physical activity for a certain period of time.

Your doctor will likely advise you not to perform any type of strenuous exercise for the first six to eight weeks after your operation, as this is when your stomach will be at its most sensitive. Once past the initial recovery phase and after you have had a post-operative check-up, you can safely resume your day-to-day workout regimen.

That being said, it would be wise to make a few changes to your normal routine, if you have not already done so. Easing in with small, manageable exercises can allow your body to properly prepare for a more intense workout once you have healed.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

Before we dive into the tummy tuck exercises that will help you maintain your trim new figure, let’s take a closer look at what a tummy tuck is. 

Also commonly referred to as abdominoplasty, this aesthetic procedure is aimed at creating a firmer and more svelte appearance of the abdomen. This surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdominal region. Basically, the goal is to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. 

Pregnancy and other causes of weight gain can cause a drastic shift in the stretch of the skin that surrounds the stomach area. A tummy tuck is one of the most popular solutions that can help restore the flat and contoured look of your midsection. 

This procedure is generally performed on patients who have a body mass index below 30 and maintain a healthy lifestyle without health conditions. If you feel that your body corresponds to these prerequisites, then you might just be the perfect candidate for a tummy tuck.

Two people walking in a park

Tummy Tuck Exercises: The Recovery Period

The First 24 Hours

The first 24 hours after your tummy tuck are crucial. During this period, one of your goals will be to sit up on your own, followed by bringing yourself to a standing position. Naturally, it will be a progression and you’ll need to go at your own pace, but these two vital tasks will aid in retaining your surgical results. 

Sitting up and standing up on your own within the first 24 hours after your surgery will lay the fundamental groundwork for the tummy tuck exercises later on. 

Additionally, it is important to follow the recommendations provided to you by your doctor in order to promote healthy blood circulation to stimulate the healing process. 

Remember, focus on sitting and standing by yourself, but refrain from overstraining. These elements will help you successfully perform your tummy tuck exercises in the near future. Typically, you should be in the clear to start exercising again once you hit the three-month mark; so, make the most of the recovery period by healing and gradually regaining your strength and stamina.  

2 Weeks Post-Op

Patients are usually advised to wear a compression garment for two to six weeks following the surgery to maximize the tummy tuck results, reduce the risk of large tummy tuck scars, and minimize any swelling. This is vital in the tummy tuck recovery process. 

Keep in mind that your mobility in the first two weeks may be limited as you are still in the midst of the recovery period. However, you will reach one milestone after the other once your stamina increases. Here are some exercising tips for this stage in your recovery:

  1. Take it slow these first few weeks by walking short distances.
  2. Walk with proper flexed posture and do not engage in any lifting whatsoever.
  3. By walking with a flexed posture, you will be protecting your abdominal muscles and fascia from being pulled or strained.

Once you reach the end of the second week post-surgery, you should be able to return to your job, provided that it isn’t physically demanding. In fact, putting yourself in a sitting position is highly recommended, as it is better than standing up straight for prolonged periods of time. 

4 Weeks Post-Op

By the time you reach the four-week mark, your body would have made a lot of progress by continuously healing and shedding off the swelling. While you should still pace yourself, you can already begin doing a few light exercises, such as:

  • Walking short distances – aim for smooth strides with a straight back.
  • Horizontal cycling 

The aforementioned exercises are perfect for preparing your body for the more intense workout routines down the road. For now, avoid strenuous activities that specifically target the abdominal muscles or wall. Do not do sit ups, push ups, or weightlifting. Most importantly, always ask your doctor for further advice, as every individual recovers at a different pace. 

6 Weeks Post-Op

The odds are that you feel a lot better now than you did two weeks ago. In line with this, you can start easing into low, strenuous exercises. The key factor in this phase of recovery is to take it slow. Recommended exercises include:

  • Aerobics
  • Water aerobics
  • Longer walks
  • Light weight lifting for your arms and legs
  • Horizontal biking 

8 Weeks Post-Op 

The moment you have been waiting for is on the horizon! Once you hit the eight-week-mark, you can participate in most types of aerobic or cardio exercises, this includes:

  • Outdoor running
  • Treadmill running
  • Moderate swimming
  • Spin bike workouts

At this point, specialists recommend incorporating upper body and leg workouts with free weights. These tools aid in strengthening your body without applying excessive strain on the abdominal wall. 

Important note: always consult your doctor before starting a new workout post-tummy tuck. If a patient starts engaging in core exercises too soon, it could result in extended swelling around the waist and above the surgery site. Patience is key; so give your body time to heal, and you will soon reap the benefits of having a flat abdomen! 

A woman doing sit-ups on a yoga mat

Tummy Tuck Exercises To Maintain a Trim Stomach: 3 Months Post-Op

Ease in with sit-ups

The last thing you want to do after any type of surgery is to overstrain yourself, so don’t start these exercises for at least three months post-op.

Gradual sit-ups are one of the best exercises after a tummy tuck is healed. Since your stomach muscles will likely be quite weak, this is an excellent way to break them in. Pull yourself up from a lying position (use supports if you need to), and proceed to stand up straight with good posture. It will take some time for your body to adjust.

Move around as best as possible

By no means should you attempt to run a marathon or strenuously hit the free weights, but a little bit of walking can definitely go a long way towards improving your strength and core stability.

More important than this, however, is the fact that more movement means a decreased risk of blood clot formation. Patients should aim to start with short walks in the surgical facility, so by the time they get home they will be ready for taking to the streets.

Don’t focus on the abs 

Increasing core abdominal strength should be avoided initially post-op, so incorporating a few other exercises into your workout routine is highly recommended. Keep it simple at first with movements like leg slides, squats, and pelvic thrusts. Feel free to increase the number of reps and as your stomach gets stronger, and after enough time has passed for a healthy recovery, you can reintroduce those core abdominal exercises.

Just because you had a tummy tuck does not mean you can neglect the exercise routine. Follow these tips and you will look and feel better than ever before!

Get Flat Abs Courtesy Of The Professionals

With the most advanced cosmetic techniques, cutting-edge facilities, and years of experience, you can enjoy a safe and effective tummy tuck surgery at McLean Clinic. From your pre-operation to surgery, all the way to aftercare and post-op tummy tuck exercise tips, our clinic will be with you every step of the way so you can look and feel your best! 

Give us a call to learn more about our state-of-the-art tummy tuck surgery and other cosmetic procedures. 

April 1, 2021
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