How long after breast reduction can you work out?

Recently updated on April 13th, 2023 at 10:56 am

The risk of complications hasn’t skipped breast reduction and the numbers are concerning. Did you know that 10% of women who undergo the surgery experience wound healing delay, mostly related to infections?

This is why proper postoperative care is so important, which brings us to the main question – When is the right time to exercise after breast reduction?

Let’s see how long it takes for the wounds to heal and when you can get back on track with your gym routine.

Breast reduction procedure

Often called reduction mammoplasty, this type of surgery is what women turn to for reducing the size of their breasts by removing excess fat, breast tissue, and skin to reach a more proportional size.

While we’re constantly bombarded with breast augmentation cases, breast reduction is actually a very common procedure and is sometimes necessary for a healthy and normal quality of life for women who suffer from back, neck and shoulder pain, and general discomfort caused by extremely large breasts.

On the other hand, breast reduction surgery can also provide other essential benefits. These include: 

  • Encourage a more active lifestyle: Large breasts may get in the way when performing an exercise routine due to the shoulder and back discomfort associated with them. But with smaller breasts, women can easily do as many exercises as possible. They’ll more likely become committed to various physical activities, encouraging you to maintain a more active lifestyle.  
  • Better posture: A breast reduction procedure can give women better posture. In some cases, having big breasts can affect posture, causing them to slump due to heavy weight. By undergoing the procedure, women can lessen the weight of their breasts, making it easier to improve their posture. Also, it’s essential to remember that having a better posture is vital to women who love dancing. For example, if you’re enrolled in Zoltan’s Ballroom and Latin Dance classes, having smaller breasts can help you maintain proper dance posture.  

With all that said, breast reduction surgery is essential for women wanting to reduce their breast sizes. However, when deciding to undergo the said procedure, you should consider your post-surgery journey, especially your recovery period.

After the surgery, most patients see immediate results, except for the normal swelling and bruising that eventually disappear. During the recovery period, the doctor gives precise instructions on how to properly treat the surgical sites and what to expect until the swelling is gone.

Like any other surgery, the risks of getting a wound infection, tissue necrosis, cancer and other complications are very much real.

There are some factors that were found to increase the risk of complications and those include smoking, high BMI (being largely overweight), diabetes, and poor hygiene and care of surgical wounds. Therefore, making sure you put as little pressure and strain on your chest as possible is essential, including physical activity.

Moreover, if you experience persistent chest pain after surgery, taking anti-inflammatory medications may be an excellent way to ease the pain and discomfort. You may also consume some prescribed medications to manage nausea. Lastly, talk to your loved ones or healthcare provider about any negative emotions you’re dealing with after the surgery. All these can help speed up your healing and recovery process. 

How long after breast reduction can I work out?

Surgeons recommend you avoid strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks after breast reduction surgery. You should also not lift, push or pull any heavy objects (heavier than 5 to 10 pounds). This means weight lifting is also not recommended.

Due to swelling, upper body muscles in the chest and shoulder mobility are compromised during the recovery. Furthermore, to avoid open wounds and infection, it’s important to keep the surgical site clean and always dry. Any kind of strenuous workout could cause excessive sweating and body heating that can stretch the cuts. Too much movement and certain positions can tear the wound and interrupt the healing process.

That said, light activities like walking and moderate, controlled stretching are welcome, even recommended in the first two weeks post operation. This improves circulation, prevents the formation of blood clots, enables better oxygen flow, and promotes endorphin release which is the best mood booster.

After the first critical month, moderate cardio exercise, yoga (focusing on the lower abdomen) and other low-intensity exercises can be included in the workout plan. However, experts advise waiting for around 6 weeks before getting back to your normal exercise routine.

How long after breast reduction can I swim?

Swimming is one of the best low-impact exercises that puts minimum pressure on the joints. In this way, swimming can be a great postoperative workout for getting that blood flow and endorphin kick, yet most clinics warn that swimming can be too strenuous for arms, chest and breast area that is swollen and sensitive after the surgery. So, you should wait for at least 6-8 weeks before getting into your swimsuit again.

What’s more, exposure to pool or seawater poses many threats for wound healing and can lead to infections and contamination.

How long after breast reduction can I run?

As a high-intensity (and sweat-inducing) type of exercise, running is not on the list of advisable activities after breast reduction, at least not in the first 6 weeks of recovery.

Not only does it cause intensive muscle contraction and full-body engagement, but it also puts a lot of strain and pressure on the chest area. Just imagine what stress, tension, and tightness a running pace must be putting on already swollen and sensitive breasts that need all the possible strength for recuperation.

If you’re an avid runner, you might want to try faster walking that will accelerate your heart rate and give you the sense of a proper workout but still remaining low-impact and less risky.

When can I lift weights after breast reduction?

Weight-lifting is probably the last thing you want to do after breast surgery. Any kind of resistance training is a big no-no after surgery for a minimum of 6 weeks.

Weight lifting needs arm, chest, neck and abdomen contractions to push a lot of weight off your body, which can put too much strain on the breasts and cause more swelling, or even compromise the recovery results.

Ab exercises after breast reduction

Getting into the 3rd week post surgery is probably safe enough to slowly start with lower ab exercises, according to some surgery clinics. The key is to listen to your body and follow how stressful your workout regimen is for the breasts. Begin with fewer reps, focusing on your lower abdomen to avoid any possible injury.

6-7 weeks in your recovery journey, you’ll probably be ready for a full-on ab session.

When can I do push-ups after breast reduction?

Any gym enthusiast knows what a full-body push-up is, which is exactly what you should avoid during the essential recovery period from a breast reduction. Based on the professionals’ experience and recommendations mentioned above, push-up reps are probably not the best idea during the mandatory 6 weeks of healing.

When the swelling has diminished and your doctor has approved more exercising, you can consider strengthening the core again.

 Remember to make gradual changes to your workout and introduce one exercise at a time. This can help you to discover what your body is ready to tackle and what needs more healing.

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