Exercising after Breast Augmentation

Working Out After Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation requires a certain amount of recovery time after the procedure. Although most women don’t feel like doing anything for the first few days, some women are ready to jump back into their regular routine. However, patients need to ease back into things one step at a time. Aside from the breasts being swollen and sore, the implants need time to settle into place. After breast augmentation, the body builds a capsule or a pocket around the implant to protect itself against the foreign object (the implant). It is important for the capsule to form in a manner that is undetectable. Performing too much exercise soon after surgery can cause the capsule to become hard. As the capsule hardens, it constricts the implant and makes it feel rock hard and painful. Patients need to be careful as capsular contracture, or a hardening of the implant, can occur due to overusing the pectoral muscles while exercising.

Other complications from exercising too soon include:

  • An increase in discomfort
  • Poor wound healing
  • Causing the implant to shift out of place

Exercise after breast augmentation should be done in moderation to make sure the body heals properly. It also decreases the chances of infection, scar tissue and stretch marks. The implant size and placement will be a determining factor for the type of exercise allowed and its intensity level.

Implants can weigh ¾ pounds or greater but the extra weight from implants, placed beneath the pectoral muscle, is supported by the muscle. Implants placed above the muscle do not get that support. In this case, exercising may cause additional pain and soreness of the supporting muscles in the back and the neck. Patients need to take precautions since excessive stretching of the skin can result in stretch marks. Here are some exercise guidelines but patients also need to consult with their doctor before hitting the gym.

First 5 Days

  • Rest as much as possible
  • When walking, stay inside and go at a leisurely pace to keep blood flowing

5 to 10 Days

  • Light cardio in the form of slow, gentle walks
  • Walk when it is cooler outside since becoming overheated can elevate the heart rate and promote infections and swelling
  • Always wear a sports bra to provide extra support when exercising
  • Light shoulder rotations, at full range of motion, may be permitted to promote healing and restore flexibility

2 to 3 Weeks

  • Walking 2 miles at 2 MPH helps to oxygenate bruised muscles and reduce inflammation (2 weeks post-op)
  • Cycling on a stationary bike at 2 MPH requires staying seated to avoid pressure on the chest area via holding the handlebars
  • Walking 3 miles at 3 MPH (3 weeks post-op)

4 Weeks

  • Walking 4 miles at 4 MPH
  • Using an elliptical machine, without arm usage, is generally allowed
  • Low-impact cardio at 50-70% maximum effort is fine with the approval of a doctor
  • Light leg work during short sessions
  • Lower abs may be worked

5 Weeks

  • Gradually begin jogging while wearing one or two sports bras for support and to minimize any bounce
  • Jogging 5 miles at 5 MPH

6 Weeks and Beyond

  • Aerobics, weightlifting, running or biking can be resumed
  • Pay attention to what the body tolerates when it comes to pain or tightness
  • Check with a doctor as heavy exercise may need to be avoided until 8 weeks post-op