Hair transplants and exercise. You wouldn’t usually think that those two terms would have any sort of correspondence with each other, but you’d be surprised.
There are quite a lot of things to consider during the post-op phase, including what you put on your head, whether you’re in direct sunlight – or, you guessed it, whether you partake in strenuous activities that (in 99% of situations) will cause your sensitive scalp to sweat.
If you care about reviving that glorious mane you once had, you most likely also care about maintaining a well-toned body – after all, it is about self-confidence. Ergo, you are one of those people who just can’t go on with their day if they don’t “sweat it out” a little, right?
Well, unfortunately for you, you will have to wait a tiny bit before resuming your usual sporty activities. Let’s delve into the “whys” of that, shall we?
Resuming Exercise Immediately – A Huge No-No
You’re tempted, aren’t you? It can be pretty devastating to ‘not’ be active when you’ve followed a regime up until now, especially since you don’t want to fall back into a pit of procrastination.
We understand. We really do – but what we also understand is that by sweating, you’re putting your newly implanted follicles at high risk of infection. In addition to that risk, the healing factor is significantly slowed down.
It doesn’t even stop at the sweat itself since what you ‘do’ after sweating can also harm your follicles. If you decide to rub the sweat off, you can effectively tear off the hair roots since they’re not “stabilized” or secured to your scalp yet.
Remember – only light dabs or taps, not hard rubbing; the same goes for when you dry your head after showers.
Sunlight is Your Other Enemy
All right, activities involving heavy sweating are out of the question, but what about something like light jogging? You know, to get the muscles moving, nothing too extreme or taxing. Well, unless you’re planning on wearing a Panama-styled hat for your jogs, then don’t bother.
Think back to what we said about those ‘things to consider?’ Sunlight was one of them because direct UV exposure can severely damage the follicles with radiation – the scalp dries out, and there’s no room for healing.
Any loose-fitting hood or cap/hat is recommended as an alternative, assuming you can’t find a Panama hat. Either way, that’s beside the point since wearing any kind of headwear during even the lightest jog just puts you at risk of the dreaded sweat.
If you’re at a phase where your doctor or medical overseer gives you the thumbs up to start working out again, try avoiding headbands for the first week or so. Again – don’t tempt fate by delaying the healing process, even if you’re at a later stage of the post-op phase.
Ok Then – How Long Should I Wait?
The hard-hitting question has arrived. You probably clicked on this article to get the answer to this. But as per usual, the question has a few layers to it that we have to unpeel. Keep in mind that exercise is a very broad term – you might go for runs, or you might swim. Then there are competitive sports, including team-based ones.
Whichever poison you pick, one week is the minimum time you should wait. It’s basically the sweet spot, giving your roots enough time to supply oxygen and nutrients for themselves.
If you plan on swimming, the exception comes into play here since you won’t be allowed to do so for up to four months. Sorry to break it to you swimming fans.
Your first few exercises should be very light – to get the body moving without any actual sweating involved. Assuming two weeks have passed, you can move on to more consistent (yet still light) regimes.
In terms of moving on to more demanding exercises (bar the swimming mentioned above), it is generally recommended that you wait at least a month before resuming your previous strenuous regime.
It should also go without saying that any sport that involves extreme movements of the head, or contact with the head, is absolutely prohibited. Any slight blow, scratch, or even tap can be detrimental to your hair restoration. Don’t want to waste your money and your (as well as your medical practitioners’) time? Then simply wait it out until your hair feels stable.
What If I’m Not Sure if It is “Stable” or Not?
Your best bet is to consult your medical practitioner or primary doctor who has done the follicle transplant (or assisted). After all, sweating and overall body response to transplant procedures can vary from person to person.
Some experts may recommend that the most optimal results come from waiting for more than a year, at least when it comes to ‘heavy’ sports like football, basketball, etc. – anything that is high-risk, as it were.
We hope you found this article helpful. Don’t be discouraged by your restorative journey, as patience yields the best outcome. Try to relax and follow your medical advisers’ guidance!