If you're planning to have an abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, you know that you're going to be out of the exercise loop for a while and that you'll eventually be able to return to your regular exercise program. However, it's important to get back into exercising carefully because if you do too much too soon, you could harm yourself, both in terms of ruining the surgery and overexerting yourself. Here are three ways to ease back into exercising after a tummy tuck.
Start Walking the Next Day
Your post-op instructions will likely include one telling you to get up and walk the very next day. This isn't a major walk, just a short one around the house. As uncomfortable as you may feel that day, it's important that you walk as prescribed. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery notes that this helps promote circulation; by increasing the blood flow throughout your body and increasing the availability of oxygen to the surgery site, you can help the wound heal more quickly.
Don't Try to Stretch Your Stomach Skin Too Early
As you heal and are able to move more, try to refrain from stretching the stomach skin, especially early on in your recovery. Even lying flat on your back can place strain on the stitches and on your muscles. Try to sleep on your side with your legs drawn up slightly, and be very careful stretching after you wake up in the morning or after you stand up. You don't want to get that really good stretch going with your arms reaching up high only to experience pain and dehiscence -- that's a reopening of the wound -- at the surgery site.
Start Cardio Before Strength Training
If your exercise pre-operation leaned heavily toward weight training or a particular sport, don't jump back into those even after your doctor says you can add in more exercise than just walking. Start with general cardio first, such as using an elliptical trainer or running on a treadmill. As you improve your circulation and breathing, your body will find it easier to take prolonged activity. Plus, the cardio will help pass the time until your body heals enough to allow strength training.
For more specific post-op instructions, talk to your surgeon and specifically ask about getting back into exercising. Tell your doctor what you normally do, and get a timeline for moving back into those activities. For more information about tummy tucks, visit Body Spectrum Plastic Surgery Center - Bruce R Barton MD.