Tummy tucks are a popular procedure for many women who want to tighten the skin of their stomach and get rid of excess fat. The procedure can be used to treat conditions such as loose skin, bulging abdominal muscles, or an umbilical hernia.
During the surgery, your surgeon will make an incision around the belly button and use liposuction to remove excess fat from your abdomen area. Your surgeon will then remove any excess skin and tighten the muscles around your navel. Finally, they will close up the incision using stitches or staples and put you in a compression garment to help reduce swelling. Recovery time varies based on each patient but generally lasts anywhere between one week to two weeks depending on how much bruising occurs after surgery (which is why many patients choose this type of procedure over other types).
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Jolie Plastic Surgery Tummy Tuck
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals.
Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include:
- Prior surgery
- Significant fluctuations in weight
What tummy tuck surgery can’t do
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.
Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies would be advised to postpone a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
A Comprehensive Guide for Exercising After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Women and men choose to undergo a tummy tuck to trim their waistline and enhance a firm abdominal contour.
This plastic surgery procedure provides dramatic and long-lasting results, but these results need to be maintained with a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise.
Unfortunately, tummy tuck surgery requires a recovery period of one to two months, during which you will be sore, bruised, and swollen. These side effects—combined with the physical limitations laid out by your doctor—can make it difficult to get your exercise program off on the right foot.
When Can You Work Out After a Tummy Tuck?
In the days following your tummy tuck, even the most routine tasks like getting out of bed and changing your clothes can feel like a marathon.
During this time, it is helpful if you take it easy, accept help from those around you, and ease into all exercise routines to see how your body responds.
When Can I Start Walking?
Walking improves blood circulation, which is essential to reduce inflammation (swelling) and prevent blood clots.
You should start walking as soon as possible—even around your recovery room or your house the night of your surgery.
You may need to have someone present to help stabilize you.
Gradually increase the distance and speed of your walking over the following week.
When Can I Start Running?
While you want to start walking immediately after your surgery, you do not want to resume running. Running can pull and damage the abdominal muscles that are working in overdrive to heal.
Most patients are cleared to start running four to six weeks after their tummy tuck.
When Can I Do Yoga?
Yoga is split into two categories: asana and pranayama.
Asana, which are the physical positions and stretches in yoga, should be avoided for at least six weeks because they place too much strain on the abdomen. Any exercise that involves deep bends and contraction of the abdominal muscles should be avoided until the incisions and tissues have healed.
On the other hand, pranayama—breathing practices—can be resumed immediately to help circulate blood flow and purify your body.
When Can I Start Weight Training?
Most men and women can resume weight training after six weeks, but that is depending on if they were weightlifters to begin with.
If your body was already used to this practice, it should be conditioned to resume weight training earlier than if you are starting fresh.
Even if you have a history of weight training, you will want to avoid lifting anything over 15 pounds for the first six weeks. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can gradually increase the weight.
When Can I Do Sit-Ups?
Sit-ups place an extreme amount of pressure on your abdomen, and these exercises can cause significant damage if they are started too soon.
You should wait for clearance by your surgeon before you resume these practices. It may take seven to 10 weeks to get to this level and obtain medical clearance.
Is My Body Ready for Exercise?
Even though the above timeline is when you could hypothetically return to exercise, it is not the definitive answer.
Everybody heals at a different rate, and you may need additional time before you can safely return to your normal routine and strenuous exercise.
Rushing your recovery can be dangerous to your health and detrimental to your results. Pushing your body too hard before it is ready can result in complications such as wound separation, infection, blood clots, or excess scar tissue formation.
The most important thing is that you listen to your body—it will let you know when it is ready.
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An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure that reduces and removes unwanted fat and skin in the abdominal area. It also tightens the abdominal muscles when necessary. Getting a tummy tuck is an exciting process, but what should you expect post-op? After the surgery and throughout the first few weeks of recovery, you will likely see a tremendous difference in your body and will probably be excited to resume your regular activities and workouts. But, before you jump on the treadmill or pick up a kettlebell and start lifting, it is important to follow these six steps to working out after a tummy tuck.
1. Listen to Your Doctor
Before you do ANY physical activity, talk to your doctor about what you should expect from exercise after an abdominoplasty surgery and how long you should wait to get started after your procedure. Your surgeon’s response will depend upon your condition prior to surgery, your personal surgical experience and how your body is recovering. If you were a marathon runner before your procedure, you will most likely return to your active lifestyle more quickly than someone who spent more time on the couch. The doctors at Belcara Health will recommend an exercise schedule that aligns with your fitness level and recovery needs. The physical demands of your job will also influence your surgeon’s advice on when you should return to work; those with sedentary jobs usually return to work more quickly than those with jobs that require vigorous physical exertion.
2. Sit Up and Get Up
Immediately following a tummy tuck procedure, even the most physically fit people may need support with seemingly simple tasks like sitting up and down. It is important to move around a bit in the first 24 hours following your abdominoplasty surgery to help promote blood circulation. But, make sure to have someone present when you first begin, because you may be unsteady. Walking after tummy tuck surgery is important; each day following your procedure, you should walk a little bit longer and a bit farther, to increase your strength and facilitate healing.
3.Perform Light Cardiovascular Activity Soon After Surgery
Should your tummy tuck require tightening the abdominal muscles, as in most cases, it usually takes about 2 weeks before you will be able to begin light cardiovascular exercise. Again, it is important to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise after plastic surgery. Once you receive approval, you can begin with light exercise activities that raise your heart rate without directly engaging your abdominal or core muscles, such as walking, elliptical or stationary cycling. If your tummy tuck is “skin-only,” meaning only the skin is excised and tightened but no tightening of the muscles is necessary, then recovery is quicker and you will be able to return to pre–surgery exercise levels sooner.
4. Strengthen Your Upper Body and Legs, but Avoid Your Abdominals
Once you are comfortable with light cardiovascular activity, most patients can begin performing light weight lifting activities about 3 weeks after a tummy tuck procedure. These should be exercises that strengthen your arms, chest, shoulders, and legs – in addition to light cardio activities. Again, it is important to avoid heavy weight lifting during this time. You will want to avoid pull ups, power lifting, planking, sit-ups or other abdominal or lifting exercises. (Who doesn’t love an excuse to avoid burpees?) This is a time when having a personal trainer is crucial to your recovery. They can provide you with targeted exercises that do not put undue stress on the abdominals, ensuring your tummy tuck recovery timeline remains as short as possible.
5. Start Working Out Those Abs
After about 5-6 weeks following your tummy tuck procedure, and once your surgeon has given you approval, you can gradually start to expand your exercise program, including pilates and yoga. Again, a personal trainer is an invaluable resource during this time. They can coach you on form, duration, and even progression of exercises as you regain strength in your abdominal muscles. You should still avoid any heavy weight lifting or exercises that target the abdominal muscles until your physician permits it. This is because ab toning exercises after a tummy tuck only lead to stress in the region, which can adversely affect your recovery.
6. Resume Your Normal Workout Routine
Congratulations! At around 7-10 weeks after your tummy tuck procedure, you should be cleared to ease into your normal exercise routine. You can begin doing crunches, sit ups, and planks, as long as you progressively increase your repetitions. We recommend focusing on performing these exercises with impeccable form. Be sure to pay attention to your body as you resume your routine. Start slow, set reasonable goals, trust your body, and listen to what it needs.
Every patient is unique and every recovery process is personal; your recovery will not be the same as your sister’s or your friend’s. Your genetic makeup, pre-surgery fitness level, nutrition habits, environment, and support structure all play a part in your recovery time – and your surgeon’s advice takes these and many other factors into account. In order to achieve the results you desire, it is critical to follow your surgeon’s recovery instructions for care after a tummy tuck with precision. Trying to skip recovery steps or pushing through the recovery process too hard not only yields frustration, it can undo the results you have already achieved.
Is a Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty Procedure Right for You?
A tummy tuck procedure is a big decision, but can also be life changing. At Belcara Health, we want you to be as comfortable as possible and excited about your decision, which is why we offer a private in-person consultation with your doctor, as well as, virtual consultations to address any concerns you may have prior to surgery. Schedule your private consultation today by contacting us online or calling 410-424-5779.
If you’re not ready to talk to someone yet, you can learn more about our tummy tuck procedures here, view before and after photos, or download the comprehensive guide to tummy tuck procedures below.
EXERCISING AFTER TUMMY TUCK (ABDOMINOPLASTY) SURGERY
Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is one of the most transformative cosmetic surgery procedures. It reduces fat and skin in the abdominal region and can also tighten muscles. However, it is also one of the most invasive plastic surgery procedures. Understandably, many patients inspired by their post-abdominoplasty physique are eager to get back to their fitness routine. But it is essential to allow the body to recover and slowly return to exercise to prevent injury.
In this post, we will discuss when tummy tuck patients should expect to return to their gym or their favorite form of exercise.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOVERY
Abdominoplasty is an invasive procedure that requires an extended recovery period. Your general health status (including age and fitness), the extent of the surgical procedure, and your adherence to the doctor’s post-operative orders impact the required length of your recovery time.
The term “tummy tuck” is a lay term used to describe a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the abdomen. A wide variety of surgical techniques can be used in a tummy tuck ranging from a “skin only” procedure to an extended tummy tuck with muscle tightening and additional liposuction. Generally speaking, the more extensive the procedure, the longer the recovery time to return to a normal workout routine. However, muscle tightening has the biggest impact on the time it will take to return to a routine workout program.
All patients are unique individuals and have different degrees of youthfulness, health, and fitness. Generally speaking, the younger, healthier and more fit a patient is before surgery the faster they will heal after surgery. Each patient also has unique qualities to their skin, fascia, and muscle that may allow for a more rapid return to exercise.
While every patient wants to minimize their recovery time, returning to exercise too soon may result in prolonged swelling, separation of your incisions, blood clots, infection, or the formation of excess scar tissue. You must follow your doctor’s orders, listen to your body, and be willing to hold off on activity if necessary.
EXERCISE AFTER ABDOMINOPLASTY: WHAT TO EXPECT
The timeline below offers a general idea of a typical patient’s return to exercise following a tummy tuck procedure. Your recovery may look differently depending on a myriad of factors including the abdominoplasty technique performed, your unique pain tolerance, and your body’s recovery response. You should discuss with your plastic surgeon what your unique individual timetable will be.
First 24 Hours Post Surgery
The first 24 hours after your surgery are critical. Even the fittest patients may experience difficulty sitting up, lying down, or doing simple tasks. Now is the time to be patient, to rest, and to hydrate. Schedule a friend, family member, or another caretaker to help you move around your home.
But do get some movement. Walking for short distances promotes blood circulation and healing, and can prevent blood clots. Don’t be surprised if you need support, or if you cannot stand tall. It’s perfectly fine to keep a small bend at the waist and knees to avoid overstretching your stomach.
- Try sitting up, standing, and walking
- Do nothing else but rest
1-2 Weeks After Your Tummy Tuck
You’ll typically be wearing a compression garment during this time. Because your core is involved in nearly every movement you make, it may still be difficult to do simple tasks, such as standing or walking. You should, however, make an effort to move in a gentle, non-jarring way.
Extend the lengths of your walks by the end of week one. By the end of week 2, you might add in other light cardiovascular exercises. Choose activities that slightly elevate your heart rate without stressing your core. You want to avoid any jarring activity as well as any motion that twists or extends the abdomen. Stationary cycling, especially recumbent cycling, allows you to move your legs while remaining seated. This protects the abdominal muscles from overextending.
- Take longer walks
- Add in zero-impact cardio
- No yoga or full-body fitness
- Avoid stressing your core
3-4 Weeks After Your Tummy Tuck
By the third week, swelling begins to reduce significantly. If you haven’t yet explored longer walks or other zero-impact cardiovascular activities, you should. Continue to avoid strength training and other full-body movements that stress the muscles of the core. You are not yet ready for sit-ups. However, some of the more fit patients can perform straight leg lifts from lying down positions.
- Take even longer walks
- Add in low-impact cardio
- No yoga or full-body fitness
- Avoid stressing your core
4-6 Weeks After Your Tummy Tuck
Continue to slowly and steadily increase the intensity of your cardio. Around the one-month mark, low-impact activities such as walking, elliptical, and indoor cycling are still your best bet for daily movement. If you’re recovering well and your body is ready, try going for brisk walks, short runs, or otherwise increasing the impact level of your cardio training.
You may slowly add in strength training, but choose exercises that isolate the arms and lower body, without engaging the core. If you’re not an expert in weight training, it’s helpful to have a personal trainer who can help ensure you’re isolating the proper muscle groups. It is generally preferred to lift light weights for more repetitions.
- Slowly build cardio intensity and impact
- Add in mindful strength training
- Avoid sit-ups and stressing your core
6-8 Weeks After Your Tummy Tuck
By the 6-week mark, you’ll likely be cleared for all types of aerobic activity. Running and other moderate to high impact exercises should be ok, and you may add in yoga and other (gentle) full-body movements.
If you’re comfortable with cardio, you can proceed with strength training. Still, be careful with exercises that strain the abdominal wall. Free weights are preferred rather than weight machines, as they allow you to better isolate the targeted muscle group. Patients are typically back to their pre-surgery exercise routine after the 8-week mark, although each individual case will vary.
- Return to moderate or high impact cardio
- Isolated strength training is ok
- Avoid stressing your core
CAN I DO SIT-UPS OR CRUNCHES AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
It’s common to feel eager about exercising the core to maintain your new contour. Keep in mind that core-focused exercises like sit-ups or crunches stress the abdomen directly and may cause irreversible damage if done too soon. The majority of patients can resume sit-ups and crunches 12 weeks following tummy tuck surgery, but it is always best to discuss with your surgeon your unique surgery before you begin targeted abdominal muscle workouts.
When you’re ready to add in abdominal strengthening, be patient and careful. Crunches and other supine exercises that support the back allow you to control and isolate the abdominal muscles without overstretching the area. As you get your strength back, you’ll be able to introduce a wider range of movement.
BUT EXERCISE IS IMPORTANT!
Because your abdominoplasty recovery may last a good two months, returning to daily exercise can be challenging. Still, you need to exercise to preserve your tummy tuck results. Until you’re cleared by your surgeon for physical activity, eat healthy whole foods, and remind yourself a new lifestyle is on its way. Minimizing any weight gain after your surgery is one of the best things you can do to maintain the results of your abdominoplasty procedure.
Tummy Tuck Pre-Surgery preparation Tummy Exercises
Many people are concerned about exercising post the tummy surgery but nobody talks about working out before getting abdominoplasty. It is best to strengthen your core and work on toning your ab muscles a few months before the surgery. It is important to have a good muscle tonus. Both these elements will help you recover faster after the surgery.
Timeline for returning to Exercise after Tummy Tuck
The question is: When should I start exercising again?
In this article, we will outline the right way to get back to your exercise routine and how your recovery period will look like post-surgery. But before that, let’s look at what to do pre-surgery:
1 – 2 Weeks after Tummy Tuck
During the first two weeks, aim at walking lightly around the house for about ten minutes. Rest as much as possible during the recovery phase. This little bit of exercise will get the blood flow going and prevent blood clots. It is best to get someone to help you around the house and rest as much as possible for the first two weeks.
3 Weeks Post Surgery
Most of the swelling will fade away two weeks after the surgery. At this point, you can start walking twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes. Do not opt for any other exercises as your body is still in the initial phases of recovery.
4 Weeks Post Surgery
You can increase the duration of your walks after the four weeks marker. It is important to listen to your body and work out accordingly. You can also start doing lower body exercises by this point. Avoid any exercise that engages your abdominal muscles.
6-8 Weeks Post Surgery
You can slowly ease back to your exercise routine. When it comes to abdominal exercises, you will have to wait for a minimum of eight to twelve weeks after the surgery. Your muscles around the abdomen will be 90% healed by this period. It is still best to avoid specific exercises that target your stomach. Cardio and lower body workouts are the best 6 weeks post op tummy tuck exercises. You can also start lifting light weights.
8 to 12 Weeks Post Surgery
You will begin to feel like yourself at this point. You can resume abdominal exercises after getting approval from Dr Turner. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you feel like taking a break after ten minutes of working out, do so. If you feel excessive pain in your stomach, stop working out immediately.
Best Exercise Ideas after a Tummy Tuck and Tips To Flatten Your Stomach
Once you are fully healed from the tummy tuck surgery and get your surgeon’s approval, you can start exercising. Keep in mind that it is important to wait for the right time when it comes to exercising after a tummy tuck.
Let’s have a basic discussion on the muscle groups which impact the appearance of your stomach; rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and transversus abdominis. Working on these muscles will give your stomach a toned and tight look. Initially, you can do three to four different types of core exercises that target these muscles. You can do three sets with 10 to 12 repetitions. You don’t have to do all four exercises in one go. If you need a break in between sets, do so. Let me list down a few examples:
1. Traditional Crunch
Nothing is as effective as your basic crunch. It requires minimal movement and leaves very little room for error when it comes to the form. Go for a controlled and slow movement for maximum impact. Use a good quality yoga mat to add comfort. Look at the ceiling and avoid tucking your chin into the chest. Keep your hands behind your head and avoid pulling on the neck. You can do different variations:
- Add a twist to the crunch by alternating lifting shoulders. It will work on your oblique muscles as well.
- You can also do a v-crunch by sitting on the chair. Make sure to keep your back straight, lean at a 45-degree angle, contract your abdomen and raise your legs. Try keeping your lower body straight for maximum impact.
2. Leg Lifts
Another amazing exercise you can try to enhance the look of your stomach is doing leg lifts on the floor. Simply lie on the floor with your back straight. Keep your arms at your sides. Lift your legs a few inches of the floor. Make sure to tighten your abdominal muscles while doing so. Lower your legs slowly to the ground. Repeat it at least ten times.
Plank not only tones your abdomen but your entire body. Place your hands under your shoulders in a push-up position and hold this pose for at least a minute. Keep your body in a straight line and avoid lowering your hips. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to five minutes depending on your fitness level. Do not push yourself too hard.
4. Stability Exercises
All the stability ball exercises engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. Try to stay stable while you are doing ab tightening exercises.
5. Other Ways
Ab exercises are not the only way to strengthen and tone your ab muscles. You can also do exercises such as side balance crunch, sliding pike, knee fold tucks, oblique reach, Pilates, and yoga.
Other Things to Consider after a Tummy Tuck
Here are a few of the other things you need to consider post tummy tuck surgery:
You need to modify your day to day activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects. Do not push or pull objects that weigh more than five to 10 pounds for at least six weeks. Lifting any kind of heavyweight can put unnecessary pressure on your incisions. Make sure you take enough time off from work. It will allow you to rest and recover properly before diving back into work life. Dr Turner will tell you how much time you need to take off from work based on the type of abdominoplasty you get. It typically varies between 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, you can ease into a normal routine and give your body its due time to heal.
The way you sleep is of critical importance during recovery. Sleep on your back with a couple of pillows propped under your head and knees for optimal comfort. Do not sleep on your side for at least the first four to six weeks. Sleeping on your back will not only minimize pain, discomfort but also reduce the risk of scarring.
It is important to eat light yet nutritious meals after the surgery. If you experience constipation, don’t hesitate to take a stool softener after discussing it with your surgeon. Include a lot of fruit, vegetables, other fibre rich foods and proteins for optimal healing. Keep following a healthy and balanced diet plan after the surgery to maintain your weight and stunning results.
Hang in there and don’t lose your patience. Allow your body to heal at its own pace. Make sure to stick to all the pre and post care instructions regarding lifestyle and exercise to ensure a smooth recovery.
Exercising after Tummy Tuck FAQS
How soon can you work out after tummy tuck?
- You can slowly go back to your normal exercise routine about 7 to 10 weeks after the tummy tuck surgery – following your surgeon’s advice.
How much can I walk after a tummy tuck?
- Here is a brief guide to walking:
- During the first week, aim at walking ten to fifteen minutes every couple of hours.
- By week two, you can do ten to fifteen minute walks.
- By week three and four, you can walk for up to forty-five minutes to an hour. Do not push yourself too hard.
Can I do squats after a tummy tuck?
- You can do squats four to eight weeks after the surgery along with any other lower body exercises.
How do I get my stomach flat after a tummy tuck?
- Here is how you can keep your stomach flat after getting a tummy tuck:
- Make sure to include lots of protein in your diet post-surgery.
- Drink lots of water and keep yourself well hydrated.
- Do not go on highly restrictive diets. Feed yourself properly.
- Follow all the instructions given by Dr Turner
Why is my stomach still big after a tummy tuck?
- During the tummy tuck surgery, excess skin is removed which disrupts the lymphatic drainage system of your body temporarily. As a result, your stomach will be swollen or bloated for quite some time after the surgery. Don’t worry, it will look flat soon.
Can you tone your stomach after a tummy tuck?
- Once you are fully healed, you can start doing ab exercises to tone your stomach further.
Does fat return after a tummy tuck?
- If you gain weight, you will have fat around your tummy area. Hence, Dr Turner recommends you to maintain a healthy lifestyle after getting tummy tuck surgery.
How can I avoid weight gain after a tummy tuck?
- Just follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim at eating a healthy, balanced diet and do a bit of exercise every single day.
Can I do sit ups after a tummy tuck?
- It is best to avoid doing sit ups and core exercises for at least 12 weeks after the tummy tuck.
How long does the tightness last after a tummy tuck?
- The feeling of having tight skin can last for six to twelve weeks after the surgery.
How long after tummy tuck do you see results?
- You can see some differences immediately after the surgery. However, it will take you around six to twelve weeks to see the final results.
Can I walk on the treadmill after a tummy tuck?
- You can walk on a treadmill as well as incorporate any other cardiovascular exercises six weeks after getting a tummy tuck.
Does a tummy tuck make your waist smaller?
- A tummy tuck gets rid of excess skin and fat around the tummy area, which also reduces the overall size of your waist.
Does a tummy tuck lift your pubic area?
- While you may get some improvement in the general appearance of the public region, it won’t lift it entirely.
When can I stretch after a tummy tuck?
- During the tummy tuck surgery, the plastic surgeon can suture the abdominal muscles to bring them together and create a firmer tummy. Hence, it is advised to avoid stretching during the entire recovery period or wait at least six weeks.
When can I start weight lifting after a tummy tuck?
- It is best to avoid weight lifting for at least 12 weeks after the tummy tuck. Otherwise, it can put pressure on your stitches and muscles.
What happens if you lift too much after a tummy tuck?
- Intense lifting can put pressure on your core muscles. Hence, it is important to avoid weight lifting for 12 weeks after the surgery. Start slow and gradually build up your strength.