We all know that there are a few areas on the body that are harder to tone than others. The belly is one of those troublesome areas. This is why some of our patients opt to a have a tummy tuck procedure to tackle that excess fat. Following surgery, it’s essential to engage in a well-planned exercise regimen that maintains muscle tone and holds excess fat at bay.
Many individuals often wonder when they can exercise after tummy tuck surgery but because each individual is different, it’s important to wait until your surgeon gives you the green light before diving into a workout too soon.
Exercise for Recovery
During the first weeks after surgery you’ll need plenty of rest, and should limit your exercise to walking to promote blood flow, reduce swelling, and reduce risk of blood clots. Because you’ll have drainage tubes and sutures initially, walk only if you are able to do so comfortably.
Most soreness goes away after about two weeks, at which time you should begin carefully expanding your exercise regimen. Starting out with low stress walking on an even and flat surface is a good place to begin. Most plastic surgeons in Dallas suggest waiting 4-6 weeks to start a moderate workout routine. Low impact aerobics, bike riding, and incline walking are all excellent forms of light exercises. Try exercising on stationary bikes and treadmills to maintain a low intensity.
Strenuous Exercise and Lifting
At 6-8 weeks, you’re likely out of most of your bandages, making exercise more comfortable. However, strengthening activities using weights can put significant strain on the incisions and sutures. When damage occurs, the healing period can become significantly longer. It’s best to be very conservative letting your body guide you when engaging in strenuous activities if you want to maximize fitness benefits and avoid injury.
At 6-8 weeks is when patients should also begin abdominal exercises. Here are three effective workout techniques for toning the abdominal area:
Crunches have long been proven effective for maintaining a flat stomach. Begin by lying on your back and raising your legs close to your chest. Next cross your ankles and place your hands behind your head. Now gently contract your abdominal muscles while bringing your head up to your knees. Hold this position while counting to 10, then relax and return to the starting position. Consistently work up to repeating these steps 20 times per session.
2. V Crunches
This exercise is similar to the traditional crunch. The V crunch incorporates a chair. To begin, sit on the chair with your back straight and your arms at your sides. Next, lean back so you’re tilted at a 45-degree angle in a V like position. Once there, contract the abdomen and raise your legs. You’ll maximize the effectiveness of this crunch by keeping your legs straight.
3. Floor Leg Lifts
Begin by lying down on your back, arms at your sides. Next lift your legs 6 to 10 inches off the ground while tightening your abdominal muscles. Maintain this position for as long as possible and then lower your legs. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can, but stop when you begin to get tired.
Postoperative exercises are a critical part of healthy recovery. It’s important to increase the level of difficulty gradually and never to continue your workout if you’re in any pain. Again, because every patient is different, discuss your exercise plans with your physician to make sure you embark on a safe and healthy fitness plan that best suits you.