Patients that are conscientious about their body contour understand that the abdomen is harder to tone than most other parts of their body. Because of this, abdominoplasty is quickly becoming one of the most popular aesthetic procedures in plastic surgery. A tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen area and tightens the underlying abdominal muscle for a firm and taut tummy.
It is important to engage in an exercise regimen designed to keep abdominal fat at bay and maintain the muscle tone resulting from a tummy tuck. A question we repeatedly hear during consultations is, “When can I resume exercising?” The answer varies from patient to patient, but it is critical to get permission from the surgeon before embarking on any strenuous activity.
Here is a general outline of post-surgery activity during the recovery process and how to maintain your tummy tuck results.
Exercise for Recovery
You will need plenty of rest right after surgery and should limit activity to walking around the house for the first couple of weeks. This activity will promote circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots. Because of sutures and drainage tubes, only walk when it is comfortable to do so.
Two Weeks After Surgery
Light activity is possible when the soreness from surgery fades and gives the patient an opportunity to move again and aid in the recovery process. Dr. Waltzman may recommend walking outside the home on a flat surface at this time.
Four Weeks After Surgery
If weights are a part of the patient’s fitness routine, a moderate amount of lifting and resistance training may be acceptable. Start with light dumbbells to avoid any harm to the incision area and add weight gradually as the healing process continues.
Low impact incline walking, cycling, or aerobics are acceptable forms of light exercises. You may try using treadmills, elliptical machines, or stationary bikes for low-intensity training.
Six to Eight Weeks After Surgery
This period is a critical time during the recovery process, and caution should supersede any ambitions to start working out at pre-surgery levels. Abdominal specific exercises can be resumed at this time. Before focusing on abdominal training, the healing process of the underlying muscles must be complete.
At this time in your recovery, exercise is more comfortable because most or all compression garments are gone. Although comfort may incite a willingness to increase your training, it is prudent to seek the advice of your surgeon to determine what is acceptable and what is not. When in doubt, ease off engaging in more strenuous training to avoid complications.
Six Months After Surgery
Your recovery should be complete at this time, so you may be ready to intensify your training. Here are some suggested abdominal exercises to keep your tummy tight and those abdominal muscles strong:
This exercise is effective for maintaining a taut tummy. You start by lying on your back and elevating your knees up to your chest. Then, place your hands behind your head and cross your ankles. Next, contract your abdominal muscles and raise your head to your knees. Finally, this position for ten seconds and return to the starting position. Gradually work up to twenty repetitions per session.
This exercise is like the standard crunch but utilizes a chair. You start by sitting on the edge of the chair with a straight back, straight legs and arms to the side. Then, lean back to a 45-degree angle in a V position and gently engage your abdomen and raise your legs while keeping them straight.
Start by lying on your back with your arms at your sides. Then, lift your legs six to ten inches above the ground while engaging your tummy. Remain in this position for as long as possible before lowering your legs. Repeat as many times as possible.
Lie flat on your belly with your legs extended and your hands next to your shoulders. Then lift your body where your forearms and toes are the only parts of your body touching the ground. Keep your back and body straight, like a plank or stiff board, and hold that position for at least thirty seconds. Increase time daily.
An after surgery exercise plan is a vital part of a healthy recovery. However, it should start with caution and should be gradually increased when the healing process progresses. Because healing varies per individual, consulting with your surgeon during recovery is important to safely and effectively maintain your tummy tuck results.