Summary: Getting exercise after breast implants is a top of mind concern for many patients. Unfortunately “exercise” is something that is quite individualized. From running to yoga, everyone participates at their own personal levels. So how do you find the level that’s right for you?
When Should You Exercise After Breast Implants?
When you’re thinking about your results, getting exercise after breast implants might be one of your top priorities. That’s because, well, exercise is important. You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor that didn’t tell you to work at least three times a week, even if all you’re doing is working up a sweat. It’s good for your heart, good for your confidence, good for mental health, and so on.
As with all things, however, exercise can be harmful if you take it too far, especially when your body isn’t ready. Exercise after breast implants is usually broken down into two basic categories: short term and long term. Patients want to know what they’ll be able to do shortly after surgery. And they want to know if there will be any long-term restrictions.
When answering this question, there will be significant variability from person to person. Your own personal and medical background will determine just how hard you can and should push yourself. But we can still offer some general rules for those thinking about exercise after breast implants.
When Can I Start Running After Breast Augmentation?
One of the most common questions after a breast augmentation procedure is how long it will be before you can start running. There are a couple of reasons why surgeons want healing to be quite complete before giving permission to run:
- Running can be a high-impact activity
- Running can be pretty hard on the body—both in terms of stresses of impact and in terms of dehydration and exertion
- Running will usually require the use of strong support for the breasts, such as a sports bra (this can cause unwanted compression)
- It might take you some time to get used to the new size and weight of your implants
- Running can raise the heart rate considerably—this can be an issue if you’re trying to control vital signs for purposes of healing
In other words, running introduces a host of variables that can be difficult to account for. That’s why surgeons like healing to be well on its way before signing off on this particular activity. Most patients can start running after five or six weeks of recovery. However, it’s important to clear that milestone with your surgeon before beginning activity.
Will I Need to Change my Running Routine?
Breast implants will certainly add another dimension to your run. They’ll be larger, heavier, and (perhaps) a little more active than you’re used to. That said, investing in a good, properly-sized sports bra can help you feel comfortable as you run. You’ll want to talk to your surgeon about just how tight that sports bra should be and how long you should wear it for, especially after your initial surgery.
How Long Before I Can Do Yoga After Breast Implants?
Yoga is usually something that’s defined as quite “low impact.” With running, your feet hit the ground hard with every stride, sending shockwaves up your body. Yoga tends to focus on stretching of muscles (that said, certain types of yoga, such as Vinyasa flows, can really get the heart rate up).
However, even though it’s low impact, yoga tends to focus on various muscles around the pectoral region. Doing pushups (or pushup-like stretches) before your body is ready for it can affect the final placement of your implants. Keep in mind that, while your body is healing, your implants are also migrating to their final “pocket.” You don’t want to do anything that might diminish those results.
When it comes to yoga, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
- Most patients can usually begin light activity after the first week of breast augmentation recovery
- However, it will be important to avoid any yoga positions that might impact your final results.
- Avoid stretches or positions that use the pectoralis muscle groups
- Avoid stretches or positions in which the breasts “hang”
- Listen to your body as you stretch; use tightness and discomfort to tell you when you’re doing too much
It’s important to note that most surgeons will recommend that you wait between 3 and 6 months before doing yoga with any intensity. Talk to your surgeon about what your body might be able to handle in your specific case.
Will I Need to Change my Yoga Routine?
Most patients will not need to change their yoga routines because of the size of the implants. However, you should ensure that you are sufficiently healed before beginning a regular yoga routine again. It’s always good to start slow in this regard, as you may have lost some stamina and flexibility during your recovery period.
Be Patient With Exercise After Breast Implants
Sometimes the recovery process can be quite frustrating. As Dr. Charles Polsen, a Houston area breast surgeon, says on his website: you want to find the balance between moving enough without moving too much. Some amount of movement is going to help you heal more quickly, especially immediately after your procedure.
But overdoing it can lead to long term issues and complications. So you want to make sure that, above all, you don’t overstress yourself. The trick is to listen to your body—use any pain or discomfort or tightness as a strong indication that you should slow down.
Of course, it’s not only your body you should listen to: it’s also your surgeon. Your plastic surgeon will be able to give you individualized, detailed recovery instructions—which means the best place to find out about exercise after breast implants is from your own plastic surgeon.