A woman performing exercise after plastic surgery

Exercise After Plastic Surgery

Rest is an essential part of the healing process after any plastic surgery procedure. While you may be excited to maintain your new appearance through exercise, working out too early can have serious consequences. Knowing when to exercise after plastic surgery is the key to maximizing your results. 

General Guidelines

As a general guideline, patients should avoid any activity in the first 48 hours following their cosmetic surgery. Then, depending on your healing progress, your doctor may permit light exercise in the first two weeks after surgery as your normal energy levels return. Light exercise includes walking around your neighborhood, walking on a slow setting on a treadmill, or slowly cycling on a stationary bike.


Three main factors contribute to a plastic surgeon’s decision of when to suggest a patient can start working out again after their procedure. 


  1. How extensive the procedure was
  2. What area(s) of the body were affected
  3. How active a lifestyle the patient leads


Following your doctor’s recommendations is crucial to maintaining your plastic surgery results. Exercising too soon can cause several complications, such as reopening the incision or harming the sutures, which can lead to larger scars, bleeding, and infection.

When to Exercise After:

When you can start to exercise after plastic surgery also varies depending on the procedure. Below, we’ve categorized the guidelines based on the type of operation. 


The first two weeks following liposuction are the same as the general surgery guidelines, permitting light exercise. Patients can typically increase their routine to light cardio workouts by the third week. After two weeks of light cardio, they may resume more demanding training like weight lifting or running.

Tummy Tuck

The recovery period for a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is more extensive than that of liposuction because of the muscular repair involved. Since most sports and training routines rely on activating the core muscles where the procedure occurred, doctors instruct their patients to wait four weeks before beginning any light cardio exercise. Over an additional four weeks, they can gradually advance to a more vigorous routine, allowing the muscles adequate time to fully recover. It may take 8-10 weeks before you’re able to perform core exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, or other twisting movements.

Facial Procedures (Face, Eyelid, Eyebrow Lift)

For facial plastic surgeries, patients are advised not to partake in strenuous exercise for three weeks post-op, which includes anything that would make you sweat or raise your heart rate or blood pressure, such as lifting weights over five pounds or running. These activities could cause a hematoma, or a collection of blood, to form under the face skin, resulting in significant complications and possibly a return trip to the operating room. After this period, the majority of patients can resume light cardio and gradually work up to more vigorous workouts over the subsequent two weeks. By six weeks post-op, you can likely return to your usual activities.

Breast Procedures

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation patients should avoid overusing their pectoral muscles for the initial four weeks after surgery, which typically means lifting nothing heavier than 10 pounds. You should also avoid weight-lifting exercises that involve the chest and back, certain yoga poses and pilates moves, and swinging equipment such as a golf club or tennis racquet. After these four weeks, most doctors recommend lower body exercise and light cardio without bouncing motions. 

Breast Lift and Breast Reduction

The recovery period following a breast lift and breast reduction is similar, so the workout timeline is as well. Lower body exercise, including bodyweight squats, lunges, and leg presses, is recommended and encouraged following these breast procedures. Patients can also do low-impact cardio routines like walking, stationary biking, or using an elliptical without arm attachments. Until four weeks post-op, refrain from any movements that involve bouncing motions.

Achieve Your Aesthetic Goals With Hess & Sandeen

At Hess & Sandeen, our team will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Our board-certified plastic surgeons regularly work with patients who have to put their exercise routines on hold for surgery and can answer any questions about recovering after a surgical procedure. 

To schedule a consultation, contact us today.