A tummy tuck, medically known as an abdominoplasty, is an invasive surgical procedure performed to remove unwanted fat around the abdomen. The procedure also removes excess skin and aims to tighten abdominal muscles. Consult your physician before attempting an exercise routine after a tummy tuck, as your sutures and muscles need plenty of time to rest and recover from the surgery. The National Institutes of Health recommends avoiding vigorous exercise or heavy lifting for four weeks after a tummy tuck procedure.
Sit up on your own and bring yourself to a standing position, several times a day. While this may not seem like a difficult task, it causes your body to work your weakened muscles. Stand with your back straight, as tall as you can, on your own. Ask your caregiver to be present when you first attempt to sit up or get out of bed on your own.
Take short walks. Walking or moving around, even for a short amount of time, helps prevent the formation of blood clots. Start walking around your hospital room or house as soon as possible after surgery. As your endurance and strength return, take longer walks around your neighborhood or on a nearby walking path.
Start with light cardiovascular exercise four weeks after the procedure. Perform low-impact exercises, such as cycling, using the elliptical and brisk walking.
Begin performing upper-body and leg-strengthening exercises around one month after surgery, recommends the Johns Hopkins Cosmetic Center. Avoid doing exercises that specifically target your abdominal muscles until your muscle strength returns in other areas of the body. This will help you to avoid straining your stomach muscles.
Strengthen your abdominal muscles with simple exercises, such as pelvic thrusts and leg slides. As your abdominal strength improves, move on to various types of crunches, planks and leg lifts. Perform one set of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. Add additional sets as strength and stamina increase.
Resume your regular exercise program when you've received clearance from your physician. Keep in mind that this may take several months.
Give yourself plenty of time to heal after a tummy tuck procedure. Failure to do so may result in severe complications, such as blood loss or clots, infections or scar tissue.