When Can I Exercise Again After A Tummy Tuck?

By: Dr. Nana Mizuguchi


A tummy tuck can give patients a flatter, smoother, more toned-looking abdominal area. It is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed throughout the United States today. It can reshape and redefine a patient's profile, and even repair damaged abdominal muscles, which is a common occurrence with women after pregnancy. Exercise after abdominoplasty can help a patient's new stomach look more toned and attractive. However, doing too much too soon can cause more harm than good. So, before patients decide to go to the gym or jump on the treadmill, there are some helpful steps to follow when it comes to resuming exercise after tummy tuck surgery.

Dr. Nana Mizuguchi is a dual board-certified aesthetic and plastic surgeon who provides this type of transformative surgery to both men and women in the greater Louisville, KY area. With his extensive experience, Dr. Mizuguchi and his professional team at Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery will walk each patient through every step of a tummy tuck procedure, including the recovery.

Why do men and women choose a tummy tuck procedure?

Abdominoplasty can be life-changing surgery. When liposuction alone can't achieve the full aesthetic goal, a tummy tuck may be necessary. Here are some reasons why men and women in Louisville, KY choose this type of cosmetic surgery for their lower abdominal area:

  • Excess, lax skin
  • Stretch marks or C-section scars
  • Stubborn pockets of excess fat
  • Repair separated abdominal muscles, also known as diastasis recti, caused by pregnancy
  • Removal of excess skin and fatty deposits left behind after bypass or weight loss surgery

Patients can choose a mini, full, or extended tummy tuck with this outpatient procedure. It can take 2 – 4 hours, or, in some cases, longer depending on a patient's surgical option. Afterward, patients will be discharged to rest at home and start their recovery process.

When can I resume exercise after tummy tuck surgery?

Patients will begin to notice dramatic changes within the first few weeks of recovery. This can make many patients excited about resuming their workouts to maintain their amazing results. Louisville, KY men and women who want to be diligent about getting back to exercising after surgery are to be commended. It lessens the chance of weight gain, which can alter the aesthetic results of this cosmetic procedure. However, patients need to take it easy and be cautious with the healing process. Below are some helpful tips for when patients can return to their regular exercise regimen.

Listen to your surgeon

Before doing any physical activity, consult with your plastic surgeon. Dr. Mizuguchi will recommend an exercise timeline that aligns with a patient's fitness level and their recovery. A patient's job and what it entails will also influence when patients can return to work. Men and women with more sedentary jobs usually return to work more quickly than patients whose jobs require more strenuous exertion or lifting.

First 24 hours

Immediately following a tummy tuck procedure, patients will need care and support from another adult for at least 24 – 48 hours. The primary goal within the first 24 hours is for patients to sit up on their own and, eventually, be able to stand. The progressive ability to sit and stand helps lay the groundwork for later activity and promote blood circulation to facilitate the healing process.

Wear compression garments

Patients typically wear a compression garment for the first 4 – 6 weeks to help minimize any swelling and maximize tummy tuck results. Patients should incorporate light walking in the first couple of weeks by covering short distances and keeping their posture in a "flexed posture" of bending at the hips to promote protecting the surgical area. As swelling reduces and the body continues to heal, patients can incorporate walking longer distances but should avoid any exercises targeting the abdominal wall, like core work or strength training.

About 4 – 6 weeks post-op

Low impact exercises, water aerobics, and walking longer distances (in an upright stance) can be incorporated. Patients should pay attention to warning signs of pain or discomfort. Taking it slow is vital when getting back to exercising after a tummy tuck. Communicate with your surgeon and maintain follow-up appointments. Their evaluation at each one will determine what patients are cleared to do without putting too much strain on the abdominal wall.

Eight weeks and beyond

Patients often want to do more than they should, even after a couple of months. Patients who begin core work too soon after surgery can experience swelling around the waist and above the incision area. It is generally advised to wait until the third month (or 12 weeks) after surgery to start any vigorous abdominal work to avoid jeopardizing the results. Be patient and take the time to start any abdominal strength training at a slow pace.

Are you considering a tummy tuck?

Every recovery is a personal journey and will vary by patient. Your fitness level before surgery, genetic makeup, lifestyle habits, and your support structure all play into it. Exercise is also a vital part of recovery from abdominoplasty. However, following post-op instructions, eating a healthy diet, and listening to your body are key points to maximize results. If you are interested in a tummy tuck with dual board-certified aesthetic and plastic surgeon Dr. Nana Mizuguchi, call today to schedule a one-on-one consultation at Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery in Louisville, KY.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.