How to Exercise After Breast Surgery

Whether you want to get back into your exercise routine or simply work out to speed up your recovery, exercising after any type of breast surgery can prove to be a very difficult endeavor.

Post-surgery, most women are very sore, tired, and fatigued for at least a few days, which is why many of them have a hard time with their fitness and exercise routines for a while. Here are some tips you should follow when trying to exercise after breast surgery.

First Few Days

exercise after breast surgeryTypically, breast surgeries are performed under anesthesia, so it’s best for patients to not be every active for the two days following the surgery. Patients tend to feel groggy and tired due to the anesthesia, so it is recommended that patients sleep for a few hours post-surgery. After a few hours, patients should get up, walk around, eat, and drink to get rid of the groggy anesthesia feeling.

Regular energy levels tend to return within one or two weeks after the surgery and anesthesia. However, there are some patients who experience very few effects from anesthesia and go out to eat and watch a movie right after the surgery.

Take It Easy

The one thing you should always remember when exercising after a recent breast surgery is to take it easy. Since you’re recovering from your surgery, you should take things slowly and step-by-step. For example, you definitely shouldn’t go back to your heavy weightlifting routine one day after the surgery. Instead, you should stick with less intense exercises until you’ve recovered.

Get Advice from Your Doctor

Before and after your breast surgery, your doctor probably informed you of all the things you can and cannot do while recovering from the procedure. If your doctor wasn’t specific enough when it came to exercising after surgery, consider contacting him or her for advice if you’re unsure about a certain exercise routine.

Don’t do an exercise routine if can’t get verification from your doctor and you feel there’s a chance it’ll affect your recovery. It’s far better to be safe than sorry.

Listen to Your Body

Even if your doctor says it’s OK, it’s always best to quit an exercise routine if it’s causing you considerable pain at the surgical site. A routine that puts you in pain will probably slow down your recovery, or even reverse it.

Also, pay attention to your body, so you know when it’s time to stop exercising. After surgery, you’re already going to be in a considerable amount of discomfort, so it’s best to not further that discomfort even more by going too far while exercising. The weeks after surgery are not the best time to surpass your previous physical feats.

Start With Walking and Stretching

The first recovery exercise you should start with is the walking routine. Studies show that patients who start walking soon after their breast surgeries have quicker recoveries and experience fewer complications than those who choose to stay in bed. Blood clots are one complication you may experience if you neglect to do brisk walking after your surgery. Your first goal should be to walk one to three miles each day by the seventh day after your breast surgery.

Also besides walking, you should also do light stretching techniques everyday during the first week after the surgery. These stretching routines will help you avoid muscle shortening while you recover. Don’t do any stretches that cause you pain or discomfort at the site of the procedure, so you can avoid tearing your stitches or hindering the healing process.

Exercises to Avoid

Overall, after your breast surgery, you should avoid doing any running, sprinting, jumping, heavy lifting, and any other exercises that tend to be on the more strenuous side. Basically, you should avoid any strenuous activities that could raise your pulse and blood pressure, for at least two weeks. These exercises may injure you and slow down your recovery considerably. See FDA’s advice in this regard.

On the other hand, some exercises you should definitely consider as you recover are walks, stationary biking, and very light jogging on your treadmill.

After breast surgery, you may be incredibly eager to exercise to continue working on improving your body. However, despite your restlessness for fitness and self-improvement, you should opt to take things slow and steady, so you can ensure yourself the perfect recovery from your breast surgery.