Exercising After Blepharoplasty: What To Know
Blepharoplasty, or eye lift surgery, is a major surgery that necessitates a period of rest and recovery. Even though the procedure takes place around the eyes, strenuous movement of any kind can potentially disrupt healing. To ensure the best possible results after your eye lift surgery, follow the tips below on exercising after blepharoplasty.
Why It’s Important to Ease Back Into Exercise
During eyelid surgery, excess skin is removed to correct sagging eyelids and reduce undereye puffiness. Incisions are then closed with sutures in an area where skin is thin and delicate.
Excessive movement, strenuous activity, or heavy lifting of any type increases inflammation, swelling and bleeding. This not only delays the healing process, but can lead to bruising and scarring. Sutures are typically removed around 6-7 days after surgery. It is at this point that the incisions are most vulnerable. In some cases, incisions may rupture, necessitating corrective surgery.
After eyelid surgery, it is important to give your body time to fully heal before returning to the pool, inversions in yoga class, or any moderate to high intensity activity.
Post-Blepharoplasty Exercise Timeline
Everyone heals at their own pace. Your timeline for healing will depend on genetics, your fitness level prior to surgery, the type of blepharoplasty you had (upper, lower or both), and your compliance with post-surgical instructions. That said, the following timeline can give you an idea of what to expect after your eye lift, and how soon you can return to the gym.
1-3 Days After Surgery
Your eyes will be the most swollen and sensitive for the first 3 days after your blepharoplasty procedure. During this time, light movement is recommended.
Do: Sit up, stand, and walk around the house.
Avoid: Strenuous activity, lifting or bending over.
Light, easy movement will improve circulation and help speed healing. Too much movement can be detrimental. As always, listen to your body carefully and never attempt to push yourself past pain. After 3 days, you should be able to return to light office work and mild day-to-day activities.
1-2 Weeks After Surgery
Bruising and swelling will lessen, but may still be apparent after 1 week. During this period, your results will begin to reveal themselves. After two weeks, most patients can begin to ease back into a daily exercise routine.
Do: Start walking regularly, slowly building from 5 to 30 minutes.
Avoid: Medium to high impact cardio, swimming, weight lifting or yogic inversions.
If walking isn’t your thing, you can replace it with light movement on a stationary cycle or elliptical machine. Avoid bouncing and stop if you feel any discomfort. Swimming for exercise should be avoided until your incisions have fully healed.
3-4 Weeks After Surgery
After 3 weeks, continue to gradually build the duration or intensity of your exercise routine. Go slowly and allow yourself to take breaks, slow down or stop if you experience any pain.
Do: Gradually build the intensity or duration of your workouts.
Avoid: Expecting an immediate return to your pre-surgery fitness level.
One month after your surgery, you should be able to introduce inversions in yoga, weight-lifting at 60-80% effort, and medium-impact exercise. Within 6-8 weeks most people are able to return to their pre-surgery fitness routine.
When To Resume Common Exercises
Walking: Easy, slow walking can begin the day of your procedure. Walking around the house for 1-5 minutes assists with healing. After two weeks, you can take your walks outside and slowly build toward 30 minutes. After 3 weeks you can increase the duration of your walks, or begin to walk more briskly. 30 days post-surgery, your walking routine can return to normal.
Cycling: Avoid road cycling until you are fully healed, as it’s difficult to control the intensity and increases the risk of injury. Instead, you can begin with stationary cycling after two weeks. Keep your effort low to moderate and refrain from bouncing or doing ‘jumps’ in the saddle. After 4 weeks, most people feel comfortable returning to their indoor cycling class.
Weightlifting: Moderate to heavy lifting should be avoided until at least 4 weeks after your eye lift surgery. When you do start lifting again, select lighter weights and avoid straining. Delay movements such as deadlifts or bent-over rows, in which your head is inverted below your heart, until 4 weeks have passed. After one month, you may also begin to increase your intensity to 60-80% effort.
Cardio & Interval Training: While zero-impact cardio is welcome two weeks after your blepharoplasty, avoid strenuous or low to moderate-impact cardio until after 3-4 weeks. Begin slowly and gradually build intensity over time. Jumping, burpees, and bouncing or swinging movements should wait until one month has passed.
Yoga & Pilates: While these exercises are typically viewed by most people as ‘gentle,’ that’s not always the case. Yoga and Pilates include strengthening movements that can induce strain. In addition, both yoga and Pilates include postures that invert the head below the heart. This should be avoided until at least one month after surgery.
Always seek your surgeon’s advice and get clearance prior to adding in any new exercise routine.