After having a hair transplant, you’d have to make some temporary lifestyle changes. One of them is avoiding exercise. There are a few reasons why you need to do this. Exercise after a hair transplant has the potential to permanently damage the transplanted grafts on your head and delay recovery. You may end up having to deal with some serious post-op complications.
Why You Cannot Exercise After A Hair Transplant?
It’s best to avoid hitting the gym or engaging in any strenuous physical activity because of the following reasons:
After the hair transplant, your surgeon will instruct you to avoid anything that makes you sweat. This includes being under direct sunlight for a long period of time. The reason why sweating is bad is that it can create the ideal environment for the growth of microbes.
That can increase the risk of a hair transplant infection, which can cause damage to the grafts and result in deep scarring. You can also end up experiencing this complication if you’re going to a gym where the equipment is not regularly cleaned or maintained and has layers of dried sweat on it.
Another risk that comes with sweating is that you’d dislodge the grafts while trying to wipe away the sweat. Even the slightest tug at the skin of the scalp a few days after the surgery can uproot the grafts. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid exercise after a hair transplant.
Bumping Head & Injuries
According to one study published in Injury Epidemiology, as many as 32.6% of injuries in fitness facilities occur due to overexertion. 52.6 of them are a result of free weight activities, with “crush injuries” being common due to weights falling. It was also very common for people to fall or have “awkward landings” when they were in a group exercise class.
The point is that you can get yourself injured in the gym. If not, you can easily end up bumping your head into some kind of gym equipment. In both of these cases, there’s a very high chance that you’d permanently lose the grafts in the transplanted area. If the injury is serious enough that you have to get stitches or surgery, you can end up with scars on your scalp. And it’s not always possible to transplant grafts in scars.
Exercise after a hair transplant also includes playing any kind of contact sports. According to one review published in Nature Reviews Neurology, in the United States, as many as 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur due to sports injuries. Therefore, it’s best to avoid playing football, basketball, boxing, etc. That’s because you can end up damaging the results of the surgery.
Another problem with exercising after a hair transplant is that it will increase your blood pressure. This can end up causing bleeding from the surgical areas. And if the grafts haven’t taken root, it’s quite likely that they’ll come out of their incisions.
Exercises that make the skin stretch can also cause reopening of the wounds or the dislodging of the blood clots on the scalp. This, too, can end up making you bleed.
It’s common for people to feel drained and tired for some time after surgery. The same can happen after a hair transplant. Your body may not feel up to spending time on strenuous physical activities.
That’s because it wants to rest so that you can recover normally. If you push yourself too much, you’re just going to end up overextending yourself. That will only mean a delay in the recovery. You’ll have to wait even longer to start exercising or playing sports.
When Can You Exercise After A Hair Transplant?
You need to wait for at least 2 weeks before you engage in any kind of exercise after a hair transplant. By that time, your transplanted hair will have taken root, and even the scabs may have gone. However, still, it is important that you ease yourself into your normal routine instead of jumping right back in. You can perform the following exercises according to the timeline below:
2- 3 Days – Post Transplant
It is recommended that you completely rest for a couple of days after the surgery. However, if you feel like it, you can take short, light walks. Here, it is important that you do not make yourself sweat. So, make sure to walk in a cool area, out of the sunlight. You should also walk slowly so that your blood pressure doesn’t rise. And the moment you feel like you can’t do any more of it, you should rest.
It’s a good idea to take small walks because they can promote blood circulation, which can supply oxygen and nutrients to the healing grafts. However, you have to be careful about not overdoing it. As the days pass and you feel more like yourself, you’d want to take long walks. For at least 2 weeks, you should only consider walking only (while making sure that you’re not sweating). After that, you can engage in some different activities.
2 Weeks – Post Transplant
2 weeks after the hair transplant, you can start doing some light exercises. As far as “light” exercises are concerned, it may be any of the following:
- Rollerblading (careful not to get injured)
- Tai Chi
Sweating is not a concern after 2 weeks have passed. That’s because the wounds on your scalp will have closed up by then. Still, you’re in the early stages of recovery, and your skin is sensitive. That’s why it’s better to only do light exercises only from 2 weeks to a month. You still need to be careful about not hurting your scalp.
In the case of a FUT hair transplant, you’d have to be more careful about exercises that require stretching. That’s because any exercise that makes the skin of the neck stretch can make the healing wound come apart. Your doctor may recommend you to wait a little longer than 2 weeks to start doing light exercises.
1 Month – Post Transplant
One month after a hair transplant, you can resume your normal exercise routine. This means that you can go back to the gym and do exercises like:
- Shoulder press
- Chest press
- Squats & lunges
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Jump ropes
- Climbing stairs/step-ups
This list is not exhaustive. You can also start swimming after a month has passed. If at any point you feel unsure about a particular exercise, make sure to consult your doctor about it.
It’s understandable that patients want to go back to their old routines as soon as possible. However, these exercises will make you sweat, increase your blood pressure, and can cause injury. That’s why it’s best to wait till the grafts are secure in place.
2-3 Months – Post Transplant
If you play contact sports, you need to wait for at least 2-3 months. That’s because this kind of exercise after a hair transplant has a high risk of injuries. If your scalp is impacted any time before that, the skin trauma can end up damaging the hair grafts permanently. Before performing any of the following sports, make sure to consult your doctor:
Again, this list is not exhaustive.
Every patient is unique. Their healing times may vary. However, what’s mentioned above is a general guideline on when you can exercise after a transplant. It’s important that you start out slow, which means taking short, light walks.
For the first two weeks, you have to be very careful about not sweating. That’s because it can cause infections. Since you’re in the early stages of healing, you should still be very careful about not burdening your body too much. Whenever you feel like it, you should consider resting.
Two weeks after a hair transplant, you can start doing light exercises, and you can get back to your old (or new) intense workout routine after a month has passed. Contact sports, on the other hand, need to be avoided for a few more months because it carries a high risk of injury.
It’s important that you only do the recommended exercises within their given timelines. Otherwise, you’re risking damage to the results of your hair transplant, which may end up requiring another surgery. At any point during the recovery, if you’re in doubt about a certain physical activity, make sure to get in touch with your doctor.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.