Guide to Exercise after Breast Reduction Surgery

Recovery Timeline and Exercise after Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery can help address cosmetic concerns as well as shoulder, back, and neck pain associated with increased breast size. The reduction procedure involves the removal of excess fat, tissue, and skin to decrease the breast size.

Once the volume of your breasts is reduced, you might be able to do activities that were a real challenge before – such as exercising, for example. You might be eager to start an exercise routine but it is always a good idea to give your body time to rest and heal.

The new size of the breasts is determined during the initial consultation with Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Scott Turner. After the surgery, you will be given specific instructions on how to care for yourself, including the right time to exercise. Here are Dr Turner’s best tips and advice for exercise after breast reduction surgery.

Post-Surgery Care After Breast Reduction

Swelling and inflammation are quite common post-breast reduction. It is advised to wear a compression garment and sleep on your back in an elevated position to help reduce swelling. Exercising immediately after the surgery is not recommended as it can lead to potential complications.

You can start moving by walking around the house for the first few weeks after the surgery. It is one of the best exercises to do after breast reduction as it promotes blood circulation and prevents blood clotting.

Pay Attention to Your Body

After getting approval from Dr Turner, you can return to your household tasks and start gentle exercises. It is important to do only low-impact activities in the beginning. An elliptical or a stationary bike also works well. You need to listen to your body and not push it too hard. Until your breasts are fully healed, it is best to avoid all exercises that target your chest muscles. Make sure to avoid swimming, rowing, and running during the recovery phase. The same advice for bench press, chest press, and chest flies.

Breast Reduction Surgery – Considerations and Precautions

First things first, follow all the instructions given by Dr Turner closely. Wear a post-surgery garment to prevent swelling, soreness, and injury. It is best to wear a surgical bra for six weeks and then make a switch to a sports bra.

Stay clear of sports for the initial six weeks post-surgery to avoid exercise-induced injury. If you experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and chest pain while working out, immediately stop exercising. If the symptoms persist, contact your surgeon.

Look out for signs of infections such as redness, odour, or pus, and immediately contact Dr Turner if any of these persist.

Timeline for Exercise after Breast Reduction Surgery

It is important to remember that everyone heals at a different pace and it is important to be extremely patient during the recovery phase. However, here is a general exercise timeline to follow after breast reduction:

Week 1 to 2 After Breast Reduction

Dr Turner encourages all of his breast reduction patients to go on short walks as soon as they possibly can. It shouldn’t be too long. A simple ten to fifteen-minute walk will do the trick. It will prevent stiffness and make you feel better. However, make sure to rest as well. Apart from small walks, aim to sleep at least eight hours at night and take naps throughout the day as needed. This light activity during the first two weeks after surgery will help you with:

  • Improving oxygen levels in the body
  • Promoting blood circulation in the body
  • Minimizing the risk of blood clotting
  • Releasing endorphins in your body
  • Relieving discomfort

Week 2 to 4 after Breast Reduction Surgery

You can resume all your household activities after week two. During this time, most people are allowed to go back to work (depending on whether you have a desk job or your work is physically demanding). If your recovery is going smoothly, Dr Turner will allow you to resume light workouts that target your legs and stomach. Low-intensity lower-body workouts are great activities to start. You can also extend the duration of your walks. Make sure you are wearing a supportive bra while working out. If you feel out of breath or tired, give yourself a break.

Week 4 to 6 after Breast Reduction Surgery

Most people can resume moderate exercises six weeks after the surgery. Make sure to consult with Dr Turner. It is still advised to avoid exercising your chest muscles until your surgeon gives you a go. You can do all other exercises at this point.

Week 6 to 8 after Breast Reduction Surgery

You are fully healed by this point and can return to your pre-surgery exercise routine. You can lift weights, perform chest exercises, and do moderate to high-intensity workouts. However, it is important to start slow and gradually build up the intensity.

Dos and Don’ts of Exercising after Breast Reduction Surgery

Here are a few dos and don’ts of exercising post-breast reduction surgery:


  • Walking

One of the first things you need to do is ‘walk every single day’ post-breast reduction. Walking is amazing for increasing blood flow which eventually leads to quick recovery of body tissues and muscles.

  • Stretch at the Right Time

It is a good idea to gently stretch once your incisions are fully healed. Stretching helps with the stiffness. Always get a confirmation from Dr Turner before you start stretching. A basic five-minute stretch will do the job. You can gradually build it up and start doing more advanced stretching routines.

  • Discuss with Your Surgeon

Contact your surgeon’s team before starting any workout routine. Adhere to all the post-surgery instructions given. While working out, if you notice shortness of breath, dizziness, or fatigue, stop and take a break. If the condition persists, call Dr Turner’s office right away.


  • Avoid Jogging in the Early Stages of Recovery

If you used to jog every day before getting breast reduction surgery, you might want to restart your routine as soon as possible. However, jogging can put a lot of stress on your chest muscles, stitches, and incisions, and create complications for you. It is best to wait for six weeks before you can start jogging.

  • Avoid Lifting Weights Early On

Weight lifting is a great way to build muscle. However, Dr Turner advises against lifting anything heavier than 2-3kg for at least a month after recovery. It is important to wait for at least six weeks. When you do decide to lift weights, start small and then build up your weight to avoid putting too much pressure on your body.

Tips for a Smoother Recovery Post Breast Reduction

  • Rest as much as possible. Aim at sleeping for at least 8 hours per night and take naps when you feel tired.
  • Sleep on your back and keep a few pillows under your head and shoulders.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home and help you around the house.
  • Do not take baths, soak in hot tubs, dive in swimming pools, or visit hot saunas for at least 2 weeks after the surgery.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fibre and low in sodium.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep your body hydrated.
  • Do not smoke, consume blood-thinning medications, or drink alcohol.
  • Take at least two weeks off from work. This time will allow you to rest and heal.
  • Take all the medications given by your surgeon on time. Do not skip taking your medications.
  • Keep your incisions clean and dry at all times and care for them as per your surgeon’s instructions.
  • Walk a few minutes every day to keep the blood circulation going.
  • Use a cold pack to minimise swelling. Be careful not to ice burn yourself and do it a few minutes at a time.
  • Wear compression garments at all times to minimise swelling and prevent fluid buildup.
  • Always go to your follow-up appointments. They are a critical part of the recovery.
  • If you experience unusual pain, infections, dizziness, shortness of breath, and change in skin colour, call Dr Turner’s office right away.

FAQ about Exercise after Breast Reduction Surgery:

How long is the recovery after breast reduction?

The recovery period for most patients typically lasts around six to eight weeks. However, it is important to remember that each patient is different and might recover at a different pace. Factors such as surgical techniques and your overall health condition can influence your recovery.

When can I start working out after breast reduction surgery?

It is advised to wait for a period of six to eight weeks before getting back to your exercise routine. Always ask your surgeon whether it is ok for you to work out or not. Start gently.

What kind of exercise can I do immediately after breast reduction?

The only exercise you are allowed to do a day after the surgery is walking. It should be at a very slow pace and shouldn’t be longer than ten to fifteen minutes. The rest of the exercises can wait until you are fully healed.

How long will it take before I can return to my normal activities?

You can typically start to do a little bit of housework a few weeks after the surgery. By this time, most patients are also able to go back to work (provided that your job is not physically intensive). You can start walking almost immediately after the surgery. After six weeks, most patients will feel like themselves and get back to all of their usual activities.

What are the downfalls of exercising too soon after breast reduction surgery?

First things first, you shouldn’t do it. It can lead to open wounds, swelling, infections, seroma, extreme swelling, bleeding, and many other side effects.

How long will the swelling last after breast reduction surgery?

Most of the swelling will go away in about six weeks after breast reduction surgery. Minor swelling can take about two months to go away.

Can I skip on the compression garment post-breast reduction surgery?

No, you have to wear a compression garment for at least a month post-surgery. It will help reduce swelling and help get a better result.

What kinds of bras should I wear post-breast reduction?

Wear a compression bra for the first four to six weeks after breast reduction surgery. Then slowly transition into a sports bra for a month. After that, you can wear any bra of your choice.

What food should I avoid after breast reduction surgery?

Avoid salty and processed foods as they can retain water which leads to swelling. Moreover, you should eat light, easy-to-digest meals to avoid constipation.

How long will it take for my incisions to heal post-breast reduction surgery?

It is important to remember that everyone heals at a different pace. For most people, the incisions will heal around the three-week mark.

How should I sleep after breast reduction surgery?

Avoid sleeping on your stomach and sides for the first four weeks as it can put pressure on your breasts. Sleep on your back in an elevated position. Read our blog on How to Sleep Better after Breast Surgery.

How long after breast reduction surgery will I be able to see results?

You will be able to see the final results after six to eight weeks. However, it is important to keep in mind that the results will vary depending on your healing ability and how you adhere to the post-surgical instructions.

Visit our Breast Reduction FAQs page.

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Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Download a Procedure Guides to find out more about your surgery.
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure.

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral.

Making The Most of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive early for your in-person consultation.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Book a Phone Call for More Info

To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2.

Contact us or call 1300 437 758 to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

Email us for more information: [email protected]