6 Steps to Building a Solid Post-Tummy Tuck Exercise Routine
Committing to tummy tuck surgery as part of a lifestyle change is a big step in a positive direction. While a thorough consultation and a successful procedure are equally important, proper recovery is dependent on understanding and adhering to post-op instructions and restrictions. This is especially true if an individual plans on returning to an active lifestyle and a regular exercise routine after a tummy tuck.
1. Slow Start
Perhaps the most important step to proper recovery, remembering not to rush is invaluable. Don’t dive into strenuous activity or even pre-tummy tuck movement that could cause aggravation. Sit-ups immediately after surgery are out of the question, and simply bending or rising from a sitting position need to be approached cautiously early in the recovery process.
Always start slowly and steadily progress. To gradually work the affected muscles, make an effort to move from lying down to sitting and then to a standing position multiple times a day. It might not seem like much, and having a caregiver help the first time may be necessary, but this routine movement retrains muscles and lays the groundwork for more strenuous activity later on.
2. Short Walks
After a tummy tuck, walking can be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to get moving again. Distance isn’t as important as smooth, comfortable motion. Simply walking across the room routinely as soon as possible after surgery is enough to kick start a proper recovery.
Again, take it slow. As strength returns, take longer walks and focus on non-jarring steps with a straight back.
For the first three or four weeks after surgery, the goal is rest and steady muscle repetitions. After four weeks, the body should be able to handle a light cardiovascular workout. Picking up the pace of walks, establishing a steady cycling routine or putting in some time on the elliptical are all good options for low-impact cardio exercise after a tummy tuck.
4. Upper Body and Legs
Strenuous activity that specifically targets abdominal and back muscles should be avoided for the first four to six weeks of recovery. Instead, upper body and leg exercises are a good way to continue strengthening a post-tummy tuck workout routine without straining the abdominals.
Incorporate free weights or range-of-motion exercises that focus on the arms and legs without putting too much stress on the stomach.
5. Strengthen the Abdomen
Recovery is personal, and everyone heals after a tummy tuck at a different pace. When able, strengthening the stomach and abdomen specifically can be the final step before returning to a regular routine. Leg slides and pelvic thrusts are a good place to start, and slowly working up to planks, leg lifts and crunches can help pave the way to fully extended sit-ups.
6. Resume Regular Workout
It could take months of slow strength training, and it’s wise to seek surgeon approval, but returning to a regular full-body workout routine after a tummy tuck is possible. Build up to the hard stuff gradually, and remember to take it easy when targeting the abdomen specifically.
A tummy tuck is often the final step in a body transformation process that can start with weight loss and liposuction, and once the fat is gone and the tummy is tucked, many people want to tone up and show off their new stomach. Building a solid post-tummy tuck exercise routine without overdoing it is essential to avoiding complications after surgery and achieving the best recovery results possible.