My breast augmentation patients in Chicago each have their own motivations, but many of them seem to have a few characteristics in common: interest in a healthy lifestyle, a commitment to a balanced diet, and a passion for exercise. Often, breast augmentation can be the finishing touch on the toned, contoured physiques that my patients have worked hard to achieve. But while they’re excited about the results of their surgery, they’re often concerned with how the recovery process might affect their fitness.
When Can I Workout Again?
If this sounds like you, I’m here to put your mind at ease. There are many measures you can take to ensure your breast augmentation does not have a significant effect on your fitness goals. I’m sharing a timeline to help guide your exercise regimen after surgery, as well as some of the precautions to take during your recovery.
Listen to Your Body
Please remember that this timeline is simply a guide, not a hard-and-fast rulebook. Each patient will have a slightly different recovery process depending on her body type, incision, breast implant type, implant placement, and so much more. As your body recovers from surgery, you will burn more calories at a resting rate than you normally would. It’s important to listen to your body thoughout the process, and do not be afraid to consult with your plastic surgeon if you have any questions.
General Breast Augmentation Recovery Timeline
1 to 4 days after: During the first day or 2 after your surgery, begin going for short walks around your house. Movement encourages circulation, helps to build strength, and supports the recovery process. By day 3 or 4, consider walking down the block and through your neighborhood. A little fresh air always does the body good!
1 week after: At this point, your incisions should have closed nicely and discomfort should be minimal. You can begin going for longer walks and exerting a little more energy. Minor stretching is OK, but don’t push your limits — only do as much as you are comfortable with, especially when moving the upper body.
10 days after: At this point, it’s OK to resume normal cardio exercises that use the lower body, such as biking, spinning, and using a stair climber. Stick to low-impact activities. You should avoid activity that involves the pectoral muscles, such as bench pressing weights, playing tennis, or using other upper body equipment for another few weeks.
3 weeks after: Begin to build back up to a heightened level of cardio activity, but still remember to listen to your body. It will tell you if you’re putting too much stress on your new breast implants or the muscles around them. You may perform abdominal exercises, as long as the pectoral muscles are not used extensively. You will also still have some swelling and sensitivity around your breasts, so keep that in mind when you plan your exercises.
4 weeks after: At this point, you should be feeling much more like your “normal” self. You shouldn’t be too far away from achieving the level of exertion you had before your surgery. I like to tell patients to treat their pectorals and other chest muscles as though they were strained. Resist using them until about 4 weeks, and then ease back into your previous routine, listening to your body and starting slowly with light weights.
Listen to Your Doctor, Too
Your plastic surgeon will be able to guide you throughout the healing process, answering any questions you have about your level of exertion. As I said before, listen to your body and let it tell you when it’s ready to keep going or to pull back. As a patient, you need to be just that — patient — during the entire healing process. It is critical that you wait until you’re fully healed and have received approval from your surgeon to launch back into your previous routine.
You’ll also need to wear proper support as you return to working out. Most surgeons have their patients wear a special no-underwire compression bra for a while after surgery, then shift to sports bras. Be sure to ask your doctor what’s best for you.
Below is a before-and-after comparison from our online gallery of a patient with an athletic body, whose results balanced well with her toned shoulders and build.
I hope you’ve found this timeline to be a helpful guide. For information about the procedure, I encourage you to explore the breast augmentation page on my website or contact me for a consultation. I’ve also shared some tips for recovery in a previous blog post, here, and some answers to frequently asked questions. I encourage all patients to be as knowledgeable and prepared for their surgery as possible, and this is a great place to start.