The Importance of Post-Liposuction Exercise
Liposuction is a type of cosmetic surgery that removes fat cells from underneath the surface of the skin. Though it is an immediate solution to weight loss, it requires exercise to maintain long-term weight loss.
Failure to follow a healthy diet and exercise lifestyle after a liposuction procedure can cause a gain of visceral fat. In other words, lack of post-liposuction exercise runs the risk of regaining abdominal fat, regardless of the location of the fat lost through the procedure.
Because visceral fat surrounds the inner organs and is thus the most dangerous type of fat in the body, a regaining of fat as visceral fat can lead to greater health problems than those prior to liposuction.
Studies suggest that liposuction may induce the production of visceral fat in the body, and excess abdominal fat is linked to a higher risk of heart and liver disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, certain cancers, and many other health problems. For example, a study performed at the University of Colorado Denver involved giving liposuction to female subjects in the hip and thigh areas. A year later, each subject regained all of the lost fat with a significant amount as visceral fat. Therefore, failure to maintain a regular exercise regimen after liposuction can actually lead to a higher level of visceral fat in the body than before liposuction.
A similar study in Brazil assigned half of the subjects a regular post-liposuction exercise routine. The exercises involved three days per week of a 40-minute cardiovascular activity, such as jogging or walking, followed by a toning session. Four months after the procedure, the subjects who followed the exercise regimen regained little, if any, total fat and no visceral fat. Physical activity may therefore neutralize the instigation of visceral fat generation for which liposuction may be responsible.
Certain specific exercises may assist post-liposuction weight loss maintenance. Though a complete recovery from surgery takes approximately one to two weeks, light exercise is permitted and encouraged a mere one to two days after liposuction surgery. Cardiovascular and toning exercises are especially important for burning fat and preventing fat storage, particularly visceral fat storage. Light physical activity is also important shortly after surgery in order to mitigate blood clots. Plastic surgeons typically advocate a light exercise routine that begins at about 25 percent of a patient’s normal capacity, but they give each patient individually-suited physical activity recommendations prior to surgery.
Light aerobic exercises such as walks and regular household chores constitute a great starting point within one to two days following liposuction. Resistance exercises are typically recommended two weeks after liposuction. Toning areas where the procedure took place should initially be avoided, and any pain or wound leakage requires medical assistance. Plastic surgeons stress that recovering patients should only increase intensity level when their bodies feel comfortable to do so. Each individual is different, so patients must listen and comply to their own abilities and limitations. A three-week time frame is generally recommended for returning to full capacity exercises, as bruises and lacerations should be well healed by then.
Dr. Benatti and Dr. Eckel, leaders of the Brazilian study and the University of Colorado study respectively, both assert firmly that post-liposuction exercise is crucial to maintaining wellness. Dr. Eckel suggests that further animal studies have demonstrated that exercising after any type of fat loss triggers the brain to redefine its sense of the proper weight for its body. Liposuction does not, per se, lead to long-term weight loss and maintenance. For liposuction to initiate a lifelong benefit, a lifestyle change of a healthy diet and exercise is absolutely essential and effective.