Advice for Exercise After Breast Augmentation?

I work out everyday and am getting breast implants ASAP. I know it will be hard to run or do the elliptical, but can I do stationary bike at the gym, since it only involes moving the legs? I heard getting the blood rushing isn't good for healing but I need to stick to my routine and cannot possibly take the 3 weeks off from working out that they say you must do to heal right. Any advice?

Doctor Answers 177

Working out after Breast Augmentation

Recovery from surgery is simple. The body will let you know when it is ready for activity. This is not the time for no pain no gain. Here in Miami I get my share of patients that "need" to work out. My experience has been that after two weeks it should be ok to spin. Maybe not position 3, but one or two will get you all the cardio you need. Any earlier, you can try just walking. The metabolic rate rises when the body undergoes a surgical procedure, so for a few weeks you will burn extra calories, without lifting a finger.

My advice is, try it, and if it hurts don't do it.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Timeline for Exercise After Breast Implants / Breast Augmentation Surgery

Retuning to exercise common concern for many of my patients in Denver, and I certainly support the goals of health and fitness and want to get patients back to their exercise routines as soon as possible. It is important, however, to allow time for the body to heal and to always "listen" very carefully to your body and progress activity a little at a time.

Your thoughts about workouts that involve the legs over the arms are the best way to start out. I've answered other questions on RealSelf that detail the recovery period from Breast Augmentation. Here is the timeline from those answers:
  • 3-5 days - Return to non-physical work and light activity. Plan to still have some soreness and know that you will be tired more easily. I do encourage patients to use their arms and gently stretch (as long as this can be done without pain) so as to maintain full range of motion of the arms.
  • You can return to sexual relations and regular daily self-care activities as long as these can be done comfortably. Unfortunately, it often takes longer for the breasts to become more comfortable for sexual play.
  • 1 week postop visit - If a bra is being worn, we will assess whether to continue its use or discontinue the bra and apply an elastic band (if we are desiring more downward movement of the implant). You visit with our massage therapist for a 1hr appointment and she will begin very light lymphatic and breast tissue massage and give teaching for performing self massage.
  • 2 weeks - Return to moderate activity. Light-impact cardio exercise and some yoga postures and stretching are appropriate, and elliptical trainer or spin bike are a good place to start. Begin to increase light massage of the breasts.
  • 4 weeks - Begin a graduated return to full lower-body activity. You may start back to running if the breasts are comfortable while wearing a supportive athletic bra.
  • 6 week postop visit - We evaluate for implant position and relaxation of the breasts and come up with a plan for you accordingly. Sometimes we are near optimal position and go into a support bra. Other times we need more movement and step up the downward massage of the breasts.
  • 8 weeks postop - Begin a graduated return to full activity, including upper body.
  • 6 months - okay to stop breast massage.
Hope this helps.

Nick Slenkovich, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Exercise and Breast Augmentations

My philosophy is wait 6wks.  I know lots of doctors tell their patients that they can resume activity in a 1-2wks but I think that is too soon.  There is lots of swelling and healing occuring and when one exercises the blood pressure rises and the swelling will worsen.  Additionally the muscle is healing and you can tear it and cause internal bleeding and get either a hematoma or capsular contracture.....

So be patient!

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Best healing after breast augmentation

I have found the most attractive breast augmentation results are seen in women that have stopped working out completely for at least 4 weeks after surgery. Many patients have told us the exact same thing as you have, but when fully healed say, "it was worth it". This advice has worked best for our competitive athletes, as well as non-professional athletes that usually work out every day.
It is important.

George John Alexander, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Advice for Exercise after Breast Augmentation...

I allow my patients to use a stationary bike starting 2 weeks after breast augmentation surgery. I prefer that you do not do high impact activity for 4-6 weeks from your date of surgery. Listen to your body and know your limits. The more time you take to recuperate, the better your results! Good Luck with your surgery.

Robert Heck, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Exercise after breast augmentation

Many women who undergo breast augmentation are fit and exercise regularly, so taking time off their routine is concerning.  There's no absolute guidelines but in general it's best to avoid vigorous exercises for about two weeks after surgery, meaning nothing that elevates the heart rate or blood pressure (no gym, no sex, no soulcycle, etc).  Then there should be a transition phase for about two to four weeks of slowly increasing the activity level back to pre-operative status, so that by about 4-6 weeks after surgery you're back to your normal routine.  Listen to your body during this time.  If certain movements or positions cause pain or discomfort, don't force them.  Regardless, it's important to follow your own doc's specific recommendations, because there may be certain restrictions for you based on how the implants were placed.  Get all this information from your surgeon before undergoing surgery, so you know what to expect.  Enjoy you're fit body with your beautiful new breasts!

Keith M. Blechman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

A stitch in time

Like my father always said, "a stitch in time saves nine".  Protecting your investment and allowing your body to heal will avoid complications and unnecessary problems.  I tell my pts to wait 2.5 weeks to start sweating and get their heart rate up.  At that point, I like them to power walk and build up to jogging by 3-4 weeks.  An  athlete knows that rest is critical to recovery and getting energized.  Use this time to read a book, spend time with loved ones or learn something new.  My personal favorite is getting a hot chocolate with my kids and hanging out for 30 minutes at a local chocolate shop! Keep a healthy diet and you will be fine and return refreshed and looking good! 

Matthew H. Conrad, MD
Wichita Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Exercise restrictions after breast augmentation in Albany, NY

Thank you for an excellent question. Every woman recovers at their own pace after a breast augmentation. However, there are a few general guidelines that I give to patients.

Following a breast augmentation, I ask that women avoid any strenuous activity for the first two weeks. This means any activity that elevates your heart rate or blood pressure. The reason for this is that elevation of your heart rate or blood pressure can increase the risk of bleeding or swelling.

After 2 weeks, I allow women to resume cardio workouts such as spinning or an elliptical. Full workouts can be resumed after 3 weeks. While it seems like a long time now, the time will go quickly and your body will stay in shape for this short duration.

Best of luck with your breast augmentation.

Jeff Rockmore

Jeffrey Rockmore, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

Returning to your exercise routine after breast augmentation

I encourage my breast augmentation patients to return to activities of daily living as soon as possible after surgery. However, this does NOT necessarily mean exercise. I usually will allow my patients to return to aerobic activity within 2-3 weeks from surgery, without any chest exercises (NO push-ups, bench presses or even Yoga that involves chest work...think downward dog). Chest work-outs can be resumed approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery. The reasoning behind this is the need to prevent contraction of the pectoralis major muscle which theoretically can push the implant downward and to the side.  If this occurs during the initial phases of healing, the breast pocket holding the implant can widen and allow the implant to sit in an undesirable position. While the short term disruption of the exercise routine can be annoying, my patients have found that the long term results are well worth it. Good luck.

Michael Burgdorf, MD, MPH
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Re: Working out after Breast Augmentation

Dear Ashtheprincess,

Thank you for your question.

I recommend to our patients after a breast augmentation to limit upper body/chest and arm workouts for the first few weeks from surgery. This is particularly significant if the breast implants are placed in sub-muscular position.

And also, while still swollen to keep the heart rate under 100 bpm (increased heart rate, and the subsequent elevated blood pressure can increase swelling of the area).

The benefit to this regimen we find are mainly two-fold:

One, is to keep the muscle and surrounding tissue loose, and allow the proper symmetrical settling of the implants (again, this is especially significant in a sub-muscular placement).
Secondly, to optimize resolution of any persistent swelling to the area by helping the circulation. 

I hope this helps, and best wishes on your surgery,

S.P. Maggi, M.D., FACS
Austin Plastic Surgery Center

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.