A tummy tuck is a major operation, one that requires time and patience to recover from. Many patients will be aware that to maintain the good work crafted by their cosmetic surgeon and ensure they retain a slimmer, firmer physique, will mean adopting a lifestyle that contains a sensible intake of calories and a healthy amount of exercise.
Indeed, many tummy tuck candidates have previously lost a great deal of weight and worked hard to achieve their ideal body weight through diet and exercise, but seek surgery to target the weakened stomach muscles, stretched and sagging skin and stubborn pockets of fat they have been left with. As a result, one of the most common questions Mr Alan Park is asked during an abdominoplasty consultation is when it is possible to return to exercise after a tummy tuck.
This really depends on what kind of exercise you are planning on undertaking. Below is a rough guide to when you might like to start thinking about different types of exercise, but the important thing to remember is that this is just a guide – if you don’t feel ready then listen to how your body feels and don’t try and rush the return to exercise. There is plenty of time ahead to adopt a good routine.
Walking after a tummy tuck
This is a great natural starting point and a lovely gentle way to begin introducing exercise after a tummy tuck. It is a good way of ensuring that your circulation is working well too, and this is important to help your body heal. A good supply of generously oxygenated blood helps the cells heal. You will be encouraged to get moving immediately after surgery and you should be able to undertake gentle walking exercise after the first two weeks.
The exercise bike and low impact cardio
Low impact cardio would be a sensible next step, especially on the safety of a bike that you can’t fall off. Starting off gently and building up gradually is advised, so that your muscles can adapt and strengthen as they heal following surgery. Coupling this with longer, more challenging walks (within reason – by this think introducing small hills) is the type of exercise you might want to consider around the month to month-and-a-half mark, depending on how you are feeling.
Swimming after an abdominoplasty
At around the six weeks mark then exercise that pushes your heart rate should be fine to undertake. By this time, you can try something low impact such as swimming, where you can push your stamina and build up your muscles. Swimming is a great choice as the water helps support all your muscles and allows you to push yourself without causing damage to your tummy muscles.
Abdominal specific exercises such as crunches and leg lifts should be postponed until you feel stronger, approximately two months post-surgery. If you feel you are ready to start exercising sooner than these guidelines then it is sensible to talk to your cosmetic surgeon Mr Alan Park first, just to get an expert opinion on how you are healing and how far to push yourself.