When Can I Resume Exercise after Breast Surgery?

Plastic Surgeon & Medical Spa Serving Newport Beach, Orange County & the Greater Los Angeles Area of California

Posted: December 23, 2019

Rest is crucial in the early stages of your recovery from breast surgery, and it will take some time before you can resume exercising. Most women are able to begin cardio activities after about a month, but it often takes at least six weeks, and sometimes longer, before chest exercises and heavy lifting is safe.

That being said, every woman heals at a different rate after breast surgery, and the timeline for resuming exercise will largely depend on how quickly you heal. There are several factors which will dictate the specific length of time you will need to take off before starting to exercise again. These include:

  • The type of breast surgery you had
  • How well your body naturally heals
  • The extent to which you followed Dr. Lee’s aftercare instructions

Dr. Lee will closely monitor you throughout the recovery period, and he will provide you with more specific guidelines for resuming exercise as he feels it’s safe for you to do so. As you begin exercising after breast surgery, it’s important that you listen to your body. Start out slow and see how your body responds after a few light workouts. If you experience any discomfort or swelling, you should back off for a little while longer until your body is able to handle strenuous activity.

It’s important to understand that pushing your body too hard before you’re physically able to handle the rigors of exercise can potentially have a negative impact on your results. Instead, it’s best to reacclimate your body with low-intensity workouts. As you become stronger, you can gradually ramp up your exercise regimen.

Light Activity During First Two Weeks of Breast Surgery Recovery

Dr. Lee encourages all of his breast surgery patients to begin engaging in light activity once they are able to do so. You should be able to resume light walking shortly after surgery (either that night or the next day). This light level of activity is important for several reasons:

  • It promotes proper oxygen flow throughout your body
  • It improves blood circulation and minimizes your risk of a blood clot
  • It releases endorphins into your system, which will help improve your mood after surgery and relieve discomfort

Other light movement will also be helpful in facilitating the healing process. You should start moving your arms one to two days after surgery. This will help prevent post-surgical stiffness. As with all activity after breast surgery, make sure you listen to your body when engaging in this light movement and make sure you get plenty of rest when you feel you need it.

Normal Activity Two to Four Weeks after Breast Surgery

In general, you should feel up to resuming normal activities after about two weeks. You should also be able to go back to work at this time. If Dr. Lee feels like your recovery is going smoothly, he may clear you to resume light exercise at this point.

If you’re cleared for light exercise, make sure all workouts are strictly focused on your lower body and abdominal region. Low-intensity lower body exercises are a good way to reintroduce your body to an increased level of activity. Light cardio exercises such as walking on a treadmill with a slight incline can generally be resumed at this time. Always wear a supportive bra while exercising, as your breasts will still be healing.

Moderate Exercise Four Weeks after Breast Surgery

woman running after breast surgeryOnce you are a month out of surgery, it is generally safe to resume moderate exercise. That being said, always wait until Dr. Lee tells you it is safe to incorporate a specific activity back into your routine. Depending on how quickly you heal, you may need to wait a little longer for certain exercises.

In most cases, full cardio workouts and yoga can be resumed after a month. However, your body won’t be ready for heavy lifting or chest exercises yet since your breasts will still be healing. You’ll also need to continue wearing a supportive bra when exercising during this phase of your recovery.

Full Workout Six Weeks after Breast Surgery

In general, it should be safe to resume your full workout six weeks after breast surgery. When first resuming chest exercises, it’s important to start out slow. Use lighter weights than were part of your pre-surgery workout since you’ll need to rebuild your strength. Listen to your body and gradually increase the weights and reps as you feel up to it.

Contact our Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

If you’d like to learn more about your breast surgery options, please contact Dr. Richard Lee using the form on this page or call 949-548-9312 today to schedule your consultation. We serve patients in Newport Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana and throughout Orange County, California.