According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty, ranks in the top five most popular cosmetic surgeries performed in the United States. There are about 130,000 tummy tucks performed in the U.S. each year. Many consultations at AW Plastic Surgery reveal it’s often the first big step people take in kickstarting a healthier, more fitness-centered lifestyle. And while a firm, toned core is attractive and sexy, it also has quite a few surprising benefits to your physical health.
In this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways that exercise can help with your tummy tuck recovery. As long as you’re safe about the intensity and pacing of your workouts while you recover, we recommend some of the following types of exercise to aid in your healing and muscle repair.
Please note that every patient’s recovery journey will be different, so these are approximate time estimates. Please consult with your surgeon as you become more physically active to make sure you aren’t doing your body any harm.
Stick to Walking in the First Month After Your Tummy Tuck
You’re obviously going to want to take it easy immediately following your surgery. Your core is responsible for a great deal of your body’s mechanical movements, and it’s going to need time for repair after your tummy tuck. Walking is a great, low-intensity workout that lightly engages your core, improves blood flow, raises your heart rate, and requires no specialized equipment. Nearly anybody can take a brief walk near their home, and they can do it whenever it’s most convenient for them.
In the first few days, your goal should be to work toward sitting up unassisted and then gradually work your way up to being able to stand. As soon as you feel able to get up and moving around, start taking short walks. At first, this can be just around the house, then maybe around the block, and then maybe around the neighborhood in about 4-6 weeks. Walking will help reduce inflammation and swelling in the early days of your recovery, in addition to doing some preliminary work of strengthening your core muscles.
Use Water for Low-Impact Resistance Training after About Six Weeks
After you’ve had about a month and a half to heal, you can start thinking about some light strength training or more intense aerobics. You’ll want to avoid lifting any heavy weights and ab-focused workouts. Don’t place too much strain on your core just yet. One of the best training environments you can put yourself in when you’re in this part of the recovery timeframe is the pool.
Working out in the water provides moderate resistance without straining your muscles too hard, which makes exercises like water aerobics and even light swimming an ideal way to get your body stronger after your tummy tuck procedure. Slowly swimming around the pool, doing a short aerobics routine, or even jogging a little in the shallow end can get your blood circulating and lightly challenge your abdominal muscles.
Use Planks to Firm and Tone After Two to Three Months
You’ll definitely want to get the “all clear” from your doctor before you start putting a lot of physical strain on your abs using weights or even body weight resistance. When your doctor has given you the thumbs up, one of the best activities you can bring into your regular routine is planks.
Planks can be used to specifically target your rectus abdominis and external and internal obliques, the three muscle groups that make up the visible parts of your abs. You can do them with no equipment or use things like chairs or exercise balls to give yourself an incline or decline. As you near the end of your recovery, planks can help tighten up your core muscles and highlight the results of your tummy tuck.
Want to Learn More About the Abdominoplasty Process and Recovery?
Take it easy in the beginning as your body recovers from your tummy tuck surgery, and work with your doctor to make sure you’re stepping your routine up at a safe and healthy pace. If you have questions about abdominoplasty or want a consultation with Dr. Anthony Wilson, AW Plastic Surgery’s board-certified plastic surgeon, please contact us.
Call our plastic surgery practice in Portsmouth, NH at (603) 294-4526 to schedule a tummy tuck consultation. Contact us using our email form to ask questions or share your comments.