Exercising after Breast Augmentation: What You Need to Know

Written by Chuma Chike-Obi, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on January 20, 2021 No Comments

exercising after breast augmentation

For many women, breast augmentation is just one part of a journey toward a toned, well-contoured physique that’s been made possible by a commitment to physical fitness and healthy living. Patients with a steady exercise routine are understandably eager to get back to their workouts as quickly as possible. To maintain your results and avoid complications, here’s what you need to know about exercising after breast augmentation.

What Can Go Wrong? 

Some movement is beneficial for healing, but too much strenuous activity can have negative consequences. The tissue in your breasts needs time to heal, even if it appears your incisions have closed.

Exercises that put too much stress on the upper body can compromise your result and may increase the risk of displacement or malposition of the implant. Strenuous activity too soon after surgery may also increase the risk of postsurgical bleeding, which could warrant additional surgery.

To avoid issues, follow the advice of your doctor closely and take your return to exercise patiently and slowly. Listen to your body and be willing to make changes if something doesn’t feel right.

Exercising After Augmentation: What to Expect

While everyone recovers at a unique pace, reviewing these general milestones can help you understand what to expect.

1-7 Days After Surgery:

Get plenty of rest and keep yourself hydrated. Understand that your body is burning calories just by healing, so allow yourself the downtime. Easy walking, even on day 1, is beneficial. This gentle movement improves blood circulation for quicker healing and can help prevent blood clots.

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Brief, gentle walks are ok

7-21 Days After Surgery:

As you recover from anesthesia and your swelling begins to subside, you can begin to extend the length of your walks or introduce other forms of lower body cardio. Light, lower body stretching is okay, but continue to avoid upper body exercises. Refrain from high impact activity to avoid bouncing in your chest.

  • Longer, gentle walks are ok
  • Low-impact lower-body cardio is ok
  • Avoid upper body strengthening or stretching
  • Avoid high-impact activity

3-4 Weeks After Surgery:

After 2 weeks of recovery, you might feel comfortable returning to the gym. It’s now ok to break a sweat with your lower body cardio. Lower body stretches can transition to lower body strength exercises. Abdominal exercises are OK as long as you are not excessively straining your chest. Continue to avoid high-impact exercises, and hold off on upper body work.

  • Lower body cardio and strength training is ok
  • Breaking a sweat is ok
  • Belly-up core work is ok (no planks)
  • Avoid high-impact cardio like running
  • Avoid upper body strengthening or stretches

4-6 Weeks After Surgery:

Now’s the time when you can finally return to upper body stretching and strength training. Still, consider limiting your upper body range of motion and avoid strenuous, heavy weight lifting until you’re at least two months post-surgery. As you add in high impact cardio, including running, keep your breasts well supported. Ask your doctor when it’s ok to switch from your post-surgery garments back to a sports bra.

  • Slowly build lower body cardio intensity
  • Slowly introduce running or other impact-exercises
  • Slowly introduce upper body strengthening
  • Consider avoiding over-head lifts and limiting range of motion

Good Things Take Time

In general, be patient with your body as you recover from breast augmentation surgery. As you probably know from your workouts and your fitness-oriented lifestyle, results don’t appear overnight. Waiting until you’ve fully healed, and being patient with your return to your pre-surgery fitness level will protect your body, your results, and your investment.

Chuma Chike-Obi, MD

Chuma Chike-Obi, MD completed a 6 year residency with the Division of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and Affiliate hospitals in Houston, Texas. Dr. Chike-Obi specializes in cosmetic surgery, including facelift, blepharoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and reconstructive breast surgery.

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