Exercising After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Activity can help with your abdominoplasty recovery

mature woman walking for exercise
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A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen. The procedure also tightens the underlying muscles if it is necessary. Here's what to expect in terms of resuming activities after a tummy tuck, such as exercising after a tummy tuck.

When Can You Exercise After a Tummy Tuck

Initially after your surgery, you may be asked to walk around a little bit to help promote blood circulation.

This will help you heal faster, but don't do this alone as your balance and strength could be compromised because of the surgery. Also, don't let this little jaunt fill your head with grandiose ideas of cleaning house and working out. Those activities will still need to wait.

During the first 24 hours after surgery, you may shower with assistance as well as take short walks. Each day after your procedure, walk a little bit longer and a bit farther, increasing your strength. After about six weeks, your doctor may clear you to start exercising. If you lift weights, start light and do more repetitions. Weight lifting can put a significant strain on the incisions and the sutures, so you want to approach strength training slowly and cautiously.

Modifying Your Daily Activities

As for your daily activity, you also want to stay away from lifting heavy objects. Avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling objects over five pounds for six weeks.

Just as with weight-lifting, doing so will cause pressure and stress on your surgery area. It's hard to remember when you are in the moment that you are recovering from surgery. It isn't time to be a hero, it is time to listen to your body (and your doctor), and take it easy.

You will need to ask your surgeon about how long to stay out of work, depending on the type of abdominoplasty you had.

For more extensive tummy tucks, expect to take about ten days off. This may seem like a lot of time, but it allows for more time to become pain-free and pain medication-free. In fact, you should not drive until you have reached these milestones.

Other Things To Consider During Your Recovery

It will take a while until you feel like normal. As exercise is important to your health and recovery, so are other things such as eating, sleeping, and sex. Here are a few tips on how to deal with these things during your recovery from abdominoplasty.

  • Eat lightly after surgery initially, increasing your intake and types of food as tolerated.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach until all soreness has subsided. You may find that sleeping on three pillows under your back/head and/or two pillows under your knees may reduce discomfort. Additionally, you will be more easily able to transition from a lying to a sitting position due to less stress on your abdomen.
  • Sex after a tummy tuck should be resumed when your surgeon states it is okay and more importantly when you feel ready.
  • Pain medications may cause constipation. You may take an over-the-counter stool softener, such as Colace or Docusate to avoid constipation.


Aly A. Abdominoplasty and Lower Truncal Circumferential Body Contouring. In Thorne CHM, Beasely RW, Aston SJ, Bartlett SP, Gurtner GC, Spear S, eds. Grabb and Smith’s Plastic Surgery, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 2007.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Tummy Tuck Recovery. Accessed May 22, 2011.

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Exercising after tummy tuck. Accessed February 21, 2016.

Shestak KC, Fedele GM. Abdominoplasty. In Evans GRD, ed. Operative Plastic Surgery. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

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