How Long After Breast Reconstruction Can I Exercise?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Lone Tree, Colorado & Nationwide

Posted: June 7, 2021

Exercising after breast reconstruction is a great way to get back to your usual activities and recover your full range of motion. It also has some incredible benefits for mood, energy, and sleep. Below is a general timeline of when you should get moving after surgery and what activities you should avoid.

Immediately After Surgery

Your body needs time to heal after breast reconstruction. However, that doesn’t mean you should eliminate all movement entirely. In fact, it’s safe to walk and climb stairs immediately following your procedure.

Light physical activity is a good thing because it can promote healing and reduce your risk of complications. You may be advised to get up and move around multiple times per day during your recovery.

Two Weeks After Surgery

You can resume moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, after two weeks. Find opportunities to increase your active time and reduce your sedentary time. Instead of watching TV in the evening, try to complete a few quick laps around your neighborhood.

You may also be asked to perform range of motion exercises during this time. Stretches like wall walks and shoulder blade squeezes can be particularly beneficial. Talk to our team about what you should be doing to maintain flexibility in your upper body.

Four Weeks After Surgery

At the four-week mark, you may be cleared to lift things that weigh more than a gallon of milk. You may also receive the go-ahead to perform heavy exercise. Examples of heavy exercise include:

  • Tennis
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Aerobics

Six Weeks After Surgery

It’s usually safe to resume strenuous aerobic work and lifting activities six weeks after breast reconstruction surgery. That is the case for direct to implant reconstruction, autologous reconstruction, and tissue expander placement.  

However, with DIEP flap autologous reconstruction, you’ll want to avoid abdominal exercises. You may be cleared to perform those movements around the eight-week point.

Develop Your Perfect Post-Procedure Fitness Routine

Whether you’re a very active person or you’re simply looking for ways to support your recovery, exercise can play a big role in your life after breast reconstruction. Schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons at 303-706-1100 to receive individualized physical activity recommendations.