Patients at my Columbia practice who undergo rhinoplasty are often eager to get back to the gym after surgery. Being cooped up in the house during recovery can understandably drive anyone stir crazy. It’s important to have perspective, though, knowing that taking some time off from the gym is worth it once you are healed.
It’s natural to want to have a specific date to target when you can resume exercising. But people recover at their own pace and what’s right for one person may be inappropriate for another. With that said, this blog provides some general guidelines for when it’s safe to exercise after nose surgery.
It is important to remember that overexerting yourself can adversely affect your healing. Too much strenuous activity too soon after surgery can cause excess swelling and increase the risk of nose bleeds. I advise all rhinoplasty patients to listen to all your surgeon’s post-op instructions to ensure a smooth recovery.
Day of Surgery
Patients often feel groggy and tired when they arrive home from surgery. It is very important to rest, to take your medications at regular intervals, to drink fluids, and to eat foods that are easy to digest. However, I recommend walking around a little bit to promote good blood circulation, even on the day of surgery. This activity should only be for a few minutes. Do NOT overdo it—relaxing is most important on this first day.
1 Week Post-op
At this point, I recommend that patients begin light walking around the neighborhood or on the treadmill. You can begin incorporating incline walking and longer walks as time passes. Make sure to ease into it. If you feel uncomfortable or in pain at any point, take a break. Listen to your body.
1 Month Post-op
Finally, you can begin using weights and doing moderate exercises that include bending over, including yoga and abdominal exercises. Additionally, the stationary bike and stair-step machine are great ways to get cardio exercise without too much bouncing. Again, do not rush into any high impact exercises just yet.
6 Months Post-op
At this point you can finally begin returning to your normal workout routines. Running and other high-intensity exercises are no longer off limits. It may actually taking longer than 6 months to see the final results of the procedure, even if you feel completely healed. Patients can continue to see changes in their noses for over a year. Because of this, I tell my patients to avoid contact sports, especially basketball. If you must return to sports before you are fully healed, I’d advise wearing a protective mask.
Of course, patients heal at their own pace so it is important to communicate honestly with your surgeon during your healing process. He or she will be able to clear you for certain activities. I encourage you to check out our previous blog posts, “Before You Schedule Your Rhinoplasty, Read This” for other things to consider before surgery, and the “Five Stages of Your Rhinoplasty Recovery” to learn about the recovery process in more detail.