How soon can I go back to the gym?
One of the most common questions in my practice is often asked the day after breast surgery:
“How soon can I go back to the gym?” or
“how soon can I …(play tennis/ski/swim/run/etc)?”
The answer to this, like most things, is “that depends”. It depends on how smooth a post-operative course you have, and also, what you will be doing. If you are like the vast majority of breast augmentation patients and experience a routine recovery, we usually let you start gently and ease back into your routine of sports and exercise over a period lasting weeks to several months.
Most of our patients are fit and involved in many activities involving upper body movement, from water skiing to mountain biking and from vigorous gym workouts to fitness competitions. As a general rule, we suggest a light aerobic workout without raising your pulse over 100bpm and without flushing in your face at 7-10 days (stair master, stationary bike or treadmill, brisk walking). You can add light isolated biceps exercise at three weeks. Crunches and other basic core activities can be done at four weeks.
When to start upper-body exercises
I suggest waiting until six weeks to begin pec major actions such as chest presses, lat pulldowns and push-up like activities. These should begin light, and build gradually. Pushups should be done first off the knees, and reps built up to three sets of 20; once this is achieved you may go to off the toes, beginning with fewer reps and again building them up. Similarly, chest presses should be done at first with very light weights. Any development of pain where the pec major muscle joins the breast bone should be treated like any overuse injury: back off on the exercise, rest, ice if needed,and re-introduce the activity gradually. You can interpret the above guidelines to help guide you for your favorite sport.
Range of motion exercises can usually start the day of surgery and our nurses will instruct you in this before you go home. I generally review these in our first visit together, the next day. This helps a great deal in reducing pain due to muscle spasm and gets you started in the “right direction”.