Exercising After Rhinoplasty: What To Know
Rhinoplasty, or cosmetic nose surgery, refines and reshapes the nose. Since Rhinoplasty is facial surgery, it’s tempting to assume you could return to exercise immediately after the procedure. After all, the only area operated on was the nose, right? However, your body needs time to heal after this invasive surgery. Undertaking vigorous activity too soon after surgery can negatively affect your results, or even worse it can result in injury.
Here’s the right way to get back to the gym (or your favorite form of exercise) following rhinoplasty:
Risks of Exercising Too Soon
Although the nose may seem unrelated to the rest of your body, any activity you do has a systemic influence that extends to the face. Simply put, the entire body needs to heal after any form of facial plastic surgery including rhinoplasty.
Moderate to intense exercise increases your heart rate and blood pressure and puts you at risk for nose bleeds, bruising, and other complications. In the least, you’ll experience increased swelling which can prolong the healing process and negatively impact your results.
In addition to keeping your heart rate low, it’s vital to protect your nose from injury following a rhinoplasty procedure. As you can imagine, the tissues within the nose are extremely fragile as it heals post-surgery. Any form of bumping or impact, even as small as touching the nose to wipe sweat or a mindless bump to the face, can have a negative effect on the results of the procedure while you’re still within the healing window.
To protect your future results (and to protect against the need for a revision procedure) it’s best to patiently introduce exercise patiently over the first 6 weeks post-surgery. While the guide below offers a general guideline, always listen to your doctor, and your own body.
Stop exercise if you feel light-headed, if you sense pain or throbbing in your nose, or if you notice an increase in swelling. There’ll be plenty of time to return to your pre-surgery fitness level after you completely recover from the procedure (see our guide to rhinoplasty recovery for more information).
Exercise After Rhinoplasty: A Typical Timeline
1 Week After Cosmetic Nose Surgery
Rest is best during the first 7 days after your surgery. Do nothing more than light walks around your house, for a maximum 20 minutes at a time. These walks will help improve blood circulation, which decreases the risk of clotting and hastens healing.
If you begin to feel fatigued or out of breath, stop. This is an indication your heart rate is getting too high, which puts you at risk for bleeding.
Your primary focus during this first week should be to recover from any pain medications, and to allow swelling and bruising to go down.
- Rest, hydrate and keep your heart-rate low
- Do nothing but zero impact, easy walking
2-4 Weeks After Cosmetic Nose Surgery
At this point your stitches and nasal splint, if you have them, will have been removed. The day of this appointment, take a 24-hour break from all activity. After this, it’s ok to slowly increase the length of your walks, or add in additional zero-impact, no-contact, moderately-paced exercise. Strength training is ok if you can avoid straining. Keep the intensity of your weight lifting light to moderate.
Avoid activities such as road cycling, in which you might fall or injure your nose. While activities such as yoga may seem gentle and non-impactful, you should avoid inversions or any pose which has you bowing your head toward the ground.
You’re still prone to bleeding if your heart rate gets too high, or if blood flow is directed toward your head. Additionally, during this time the nose is still very sensitive to touch, bouncing, or bumping.
- Zero-impact, no-contact, moderate exercise only
- Strength training at up to 50% effort
- No running or swimming
4-6 Weeks After Cosmetic Nose Surgery
After the first month of recovery, it’s safe to slowly increase the length or intensity of your workouts. It’s very important to listen to your body. If you’ve been working out at home, it’s now safe to return to the gym, but continue to avoid the risk of falling or getting bumped by someone.
You should be able to return to inversions in yoga, and increase your strength training effort toward 80%. Remember to judge your exertion by how you feel now, versus your pre-surgery fitness level. It will take you some time to get back into shape, and you won’t regret being patient.
If your incisions have completely healed, you may also add in swimming during this time.
- Moderate-impact, no-contact exercise
- Strength training at up to 80% effort
- Light jogging or swimming is ok for some
6 Weeks or More After Cosmetic Nose Surgery
For most people, it takes a full 6 weeks for the structural tissues of the nose to adhere together. While this means you are safe to return to high intensity exercise, you should continue to avoid contact sports unless advised differently by your doctor.
While every patient is unique, it can take several months or even a year to recover completely from rhinoplasty. Even after 6 weeks the nose may still be highly susceptible to injury should any impact occur. All patients should get clearance from their surgeon before participating in contact sports. If you participate in contact sports like football or soccer, ask to be fitted for a protective face mask, which your doctor may require you to wear for quite some time.
Pushing through recovery too quickly too soon can potentially undo the results you’ve put so much effort into. While it may be frustrating to lie low, you won’t regret being patient with your body and treating it kindly while you heal.